Can You Expunge a DUI from Your Record?

A drunk driving conviction can haunt a person many years after the event, sometimes even limiting career and personal opportunities. This compels many individuals to seek to expunge – or vacate – a DUI conviction from their records.

Unfortunately, the state of Washington does not allow DUI expungement. This is true, regardless of whether you have long since served your punishment and satisfied the terms of your sentence. You may, however, expunge certain other misdemeanor offenses from your record. This may impact how you plead during an initial DUI trial, and how severe the DUI punishment is.

The long-term implications of a DUI conviction underscore the importance of securing a defense team early in the process. Our Tacoma-based law firm treats each individual case with the attention and respect it deserves. We understand how stressful and frustrating it can be to cope with the aftermath of a DUI arrest. Below is information to help you understand your rights and options after being charged with or convicted of DUI.

What does Washington law say about DUI expungement?

The Revised Code of Washington (specifically, RCW 9.96.060) outlines the conditions under which a person may or may not have a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor expunged from his or her record.

The law provides for certain individuals to vacate a past record, provided he or she has completed the terms of a sentence. However, a DUI conviction qualifies as one of the numerous exceptions to this option. The law states specifically that an applicant may not vacate a record of conviction if that person was in violation of Washington’s laws regarding driving under the influence.

Why can’t I vacate my DUI conviction in Washington?

There are several key factors impeding your right to expunge a DUI conviction from your criminal record:

  • The potential for future DUI charges – The state requires a DUI charge to remain on a person’s record for a minimum of seven years. This is because previous DUI convictions factor into a person’s sentencing and affect the potential penalties involved in a DUI conviction.
  • Judges typically do not want to expunge a DUI conviction – A judge may be unwilling to expunge a DUI conviction long after the fact simply because they want the conviction visible in the event you are charged with any other misdemeanor or felony crime.

These factors create significant challenges for vacating a DUI conviction. This does not, however, mean it is impossible to expunge a DUI from your record.

What options are available to me to avoid permanently having a DUI on record?

A defense attorney may present a judge with evidence to prove how an outdated DUI conviction has created an unnecessary hardship in your life, such as making it difficult for you to secure employment or pursue other personal opportunities.

If you are still in the trial period of your case, you may wish to speak to your attorney about options such as pleading to a lesser charge or mounting a defense against the DUI charges against you.

I have additional questions about my DUI case. Who should I contact?

Take advantage of a case consultation to learn if there are options available to you to expunge a DUI conviction from your record. Contact our Tacoma-based offices at (253) 383-7777.

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Daryl Graves Law, PLLC practices primarily in the areas of criminal defense law and personal injury. If you are seeking representation in one of these, or simply have a question that you would like to ask an attorney, feel free to call Daryl Graves Law, PLLC at 253-383-7777 or complete the form below.

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