If you have been charged and convicted with either driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland, after you have served your time and paid your penalties, you are likely eager to put it all behind you. As part of the process of moving past this period of your life, you may be wondering if it is possible to have your drunk driving conviction wiped from your criminal record.
Although there are many crimes for which you can have your record expunged here in Maryland, drunk driving convictions are typically not one of them. Keep reading to find out why and how you can best move on from a DUI or DWI with the help of an experienced defense attorney.
What is expungement?
Expungement is the process of petitioning the court to remove certain police and court records from public view; specifically criminal or arrest records. It means those records are closed from things like public searches and background checks. You are no longer required to disclose this arrest or conviction during job interviews or when filling out applications.
Expunging a criminal conviction is beneficial to your future when available, as a criminal record can present challenges when:
- Applying for a job
- Obtaining loans
- Applying for housing
- Seeking a professional license
- Obtaining a firearms license
- Applying for government services
In broad terms, criminal records may be eligible for expungement if:
- You received probation before judgement (PBJ)
- You were not prosecuted or charges were dropped
- At least 10 to 15 years have passed since conviction
- The offense for which you were convicted is no longer a crime
However, here in Maryland, not every crime is eligible for expungement, especially certain sex- or alcohol-related offenses.
What crimes are ineligible for expungement in Maryland?
Cases where expungement may be unavailable include:
- When you are facing upcoming criminal proceedings on a related or unrelated charge
- When you received PBJ but were convicted of another crime within 3 years – unless the new conviction is a minor traffic violation or is no longer considered a crime
- If your PBJ was related to DUI or DWI
- If you are convicted of a crime while waiting for expungement
If you have questions about which crimes are eligible or ineligible for expungement, talk to our Bowie and Crofton attorneys today.
So, can I have my DUI removed from my criminal record?
In most cases? No, which is why it is so important to have a DUI/DWI defense attorney on your side from the start – to avoid a conviction in the first place. Your arrest and conviction record will likely remain on your record forever. If you were arrested and never charged, however, your arrest record should automatically clear within about 60 days of your release. If it does not, call our Bowie or Crofton offices and we can help.
There are however, a few cases where a DUI or DWI misdemeanor charge may be eligible for expungement, assuming there are no serious injuries, deaths, or enhancements associated with your arrest. These scenarios include:
- You were acquitted of your DWI/DUI
- Your DUI/DWI was dismissed or dropped
- Your DWI/DUI received a nolle prosequi or stet decision
- Your DUI/DWI was transferred to Juvenile Court
If you plead guilty or a judge finds you guilty of a drunk driving offense, your arrest and conviction cannot be expunged. A probation before judgement (PBJ) cannot be expunged either, however, a PBJ does allow you to state truthfully on applications and in interviews that you have never been convicted of a crime.
What is probation before judgement?
Probation before judgement, or PBJ, means that an individual is placed on probation before a criminal decision is entered against them. PBJ allows a person to be placed on probation without being convicted of a crime like DUI or DWI. A PBJ disposition in DUI cases cannot be received unless it involves a first-time drunk driving offenses only or the previous offense was 10 or more years ago.
Once you complete the terms of your PBJ probation – which can include alcohol counseling, community service, etc. – you may honestly state you have never been convicted of that particular offense. Another benefit to PBJ is that you will receive no points on your driving record as there was no conviction. Additionally, typically, with a PBJ disposition, your car insurance rates do not increase because you do not have a DUI/DWI conviction.
However, the fact that you received a PBJ cannot be completely expunged from your record, (the Court needs a way to determine that there has been no previous PBJ for at least 10 years) so it is important to talk to a drunk driving defense lawyer immediately if you are charged with DUI or DWI.
How a Bowie or Crofton DUI/DWI defense attorney can help
When facing drunk driving charges, a conviction can literally stay with you for the rest of your life. Getting a skilled attorney involved from the very beginning gives you the best chance for a successful outcome. Your DUI/DWI defense lawyer can:
- Explain your rights, what to do, and what NOT to do
- Describe the charges against you and all possible consequences
- Get to know you and your efforts to move forward
- Build a strong case on your behalf, including gathering as much evidence as possible, interviewing witnesses, studying police reports, evaluating data, and launching our own investigation
- Prepare you for and represent you at all necessary hearings or trials
- Advocate for you every single step of the way
Our legal team stops at nothing to protect your rights. We work to fight your DUI/DWI charge and come to the best resolution possible. Talk to us today so we can begin working on your case. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, contact Carey Law Office now.
With offices located in Bowie, Crofton, and Owings, we are always nearby when you need us. Call us at 301-464-2500 or use our contact page to set up a consultation now. Serving clients throughout Calvert County.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More