For many people, the short-term penalties of being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) pale in comparison to the long-term consequences. For instance, ongoing expenses, ignition interlock devices, restrictions and limitations, and higher insurance premiums can persist long after you've had your day in court.
Another consequence that can pose lasting setbacks for convicted individuals is the conviction itself – or simply having a DUI on your criminal record. Under California law, certain DUI offenders may be eligible to have their criminal record sealed, also known as an expungement.
If you were convicted of DUI and completed all terms of your probation or sentencing, you may be able to have your conviction expunged. Although an expungement may be available in limited cases, far too many individuals don't know that they are eligible, or don't believe that it's necessary. If you’re unsure if you should entertain the possibility of an expungement, here are two things to consider:
Future Opportunities are at Stake
In a tough economy, the employment markets have become incredibly competitive. Today’s employers closely scrutinize applicants when making hiring decisions. The same is true with:
- Security Clearance
- Higher Education
- Technical Training Programs
- Housing Arrangements
- Professional Licensing
- Volunteer Work
- Child Custody
Having a conviction can become a significant setback to one's future and financial wellbeing and it is one of the most common reasons why people choose to expunge their conviction. Having a DUI conviction may also prevent you from traveling to certain countries, such as Canada or Mexico, or require you to gain clearance by undergoing a lengthy process.
You Face Increased Penalties
Under California law, DUI convictions count as priors for 10 years. This means that if you are found guilty of DUI and you are convicted of a second DUI within 10 years of the first, you would be subject to sentence enhancements.
Anyone who has been convicted of DUI should make the effort to determine their eligibility for expungement, especially if they are at a time in their life when they may be looking for new opportunities.
Although all cases are unique and circumstances vary, it's important to understand that convicted individuals usually must complete court-ordered classes, pay fines and fines, and complete or terminate probation before meeting the eligibility requirements.
Our Orange County DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can help you learn more about expungements, whether you may be eligible, and how we can help. To discuss your case, contact us today!