With the consistent popularity of television programming focused on the legal field or the incorporation of legal aspects into television and movies, there are a lot of misconceptions about the law. Courtroom scenes on television and on the big screen are always dramatic, filled with fiery speeches and awestruck juries. The truth of the matter is that real life rarely mirrors these scenes, and that can lead to a lot of confusion when people find themselves in need of legal assistance. One such area of confusion is often expungement, and many people facing a Colorado DUI wonder if expungement of a DUI conviction is possible for them.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is a term often associated with juvenile court. Basically, expungement is a process by which a criminal charge is erased or removed from an individual’s record. Even in cases where you have not been convicted but have merely been arrested, you may have a criminal record. Expungement can be a helpful tool to keep employers from learning about criminal charges in your past.
Typically, expungement is left up to the states. That means Colorado has its own regulations when it comes to expungement. In Colorado, expungement may be an option if you meet the following qualifications:
- Charges have not been filed against you;
- Charges that were filed were later dismissed;
- You were acquitted of charges filed against you that were not dismissed; and/or
- A specified period of time – generally 10 years – has passed without any additional charges against you.
Even falling into one of these categories does not necessarily guarantee an expungement will be granted.
Expungement should not be confused with having a criminal record sealed. In sealing a criminal record, the record still exists and can be accessed through certain actions though they are not generally available to the public. With expungement, the criminal record is literally deleted. Juvenile records are typically sealed after the youth reaches a certain age if the charge depending on the circumstances of the case, and while expungement does not have an age requirement, it is often more readily available for issues arising when a defendant is a minor.
Can a DUI be Expunged?
Typically, courts will not entertain the idea of expungement for an adult DUI charge or conviction. In cases where an individual has admitted to or been found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs resulting in a DUI conviction, then expungement is not a remedy available to that person. However, in rare circumstances, specifically those listed above, expungement might be a mechanism that can work for you – though you should not depend on it as a way to remove criminal charges from your record.
Legal Assistance with Your Colorado DUI
The best way to avoid having a DUI follow you around for life is to drive sober. Even one drink can sometimes put you over the legal limit to drive, so if you are drinking then you should have a plan of action in order to avoid the need to drive. However, if you are facing DUI charges then it is important to make sure you defend your rights. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is an important step in advocating for your rights and defending against any criminal charges, including DUIs. If you are facing Colorado DUI or related charges, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation and find out more about the DUI process and what it might mean for you.
(image courtesy of Yeshi Kangrang)