A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol may stigmatize you for the rest of your life. After all, every time you apply for a job or try to rent a home, your conviction may show up in a criminal background check. Fortunately, you may be able to remove the DUI conviction from your record by going through the expunction process.
Indiana law allows individuals to expunge both misdemeanor and felony DUI convictions. The process for expunging a conviction, though, depends on the severity of the offense. Accordingly, before petitioning for expunction, it is important to understand both your conviction and your current situation.
The waiting period
You cannot expunge a DUI conviction immediately after it happens. Rather, you must complete a mandatory waiting period before asking the court to act. For misdemeanor DUI offenses, the waiting period is usually five years. With felony convictions, you typically must wait at least eight years before trying to clear your record.
The expunction petition
After you are certain you have waited enough time after your conviction, you may be ready to file an expunction petition. You must do this in the county where your DUI conviction occurred. To boost your odds of expunging the matter, you should give the court as much relevant information as possible. At a minimum, your expunction petition should include the following:
- Information about your DUI conviction
- Information about your criminal history
- Information about your driving record
- The appropriate filing fee
A judge’s decision
While a recent change to Indiana law helps individuals who want to expunge a DUI conviction, judges have great latitude in deciding which matters to expunge. Because there is no such thing as automatic expunction, you should not take the process for granted. Instead, you should give the judge some valid reasons for clearing your record.
Even though seeking an expunction may be a complex and time-consuming process, the judge’s decision may remove the stigma of having a DUI conviction on your record.