An Asheville DUI attorney can be a great help if you got charged with a DUI. If you know anyone who has ever been convicted of DUI, you may be aware of how this can affect your life. If anyone ever runs a background check on you, for any reason, they will see your DUI conviction. This doesn’t come off your record.
For most crimes, once it’s been ten years, people will no longer see the item on your criminal record. This isn’t the case with DUI. The State feels that DUI is such a serious and potentially dangerous crime, they do their best to deter people from drinking and driving.
This means that if you’re ever arrested and charged with DUI, your best option is to call an Asheville DUI attorney. They will review your case and prepare the best defense possible. They understand that it is a lot better to avoid getting a DUI conviction in the first place. This way, you won’t have to worry about an expungement.
Why Isn’t a DUI Conviction One of the Crimes Your Asheville DUI Attorney Can Get Expunged?
When our Asheville DUI attorneys explain to their clients that it’s not possible to get a DUI expunged, they seem confused. They have friends or know people who have had all sorts of records expunged. Why should DUI be any different? The reason the legislature does not allow people with a DUI to get an expungement is quite simple.
The DUI laws in North Carolina are based on your prior history of drunk driving. In other words, when you are arrested for drunk driving, the State will look to see if you have past DUI convictions. This will determine whether you’re charged with a first-offense DUI or a second, or third offense.
In North Carolina, as in most other states, the “look back” period for DUI is ten years. This means that the courts will go back ten years to determine whether you’re charged with a first, second, or third DUI. If you have had more than three DUIs in the past ten years and are charged again, it will be considered a felony.
As you can imagine, the penalties for this offense are severe. If the legislature and courts allowed you to get DUIs expunged, they would have no way of knowing that you have a history of being charged with DUI.
There Are a Few Exceptions to This Rule
As explained, for the most part, it’s impossible to get a conviction for DUI expunged. There is nothing your DUI lawyer in Asheville can do to change that. The only thing they can do is help you prepare a proper defense of the charge pending against you.
They can negotiate with the prosecutor to get the charges dropped. If that isn’t possible, the best they can do is see if the State will agree to let you plead to a lesser charge. For example, if you’re offered a plea for reckless driving rather than DUI, you would be a fool not to take it.
At least this way, you may eventually be able to get the reckless driving conviction expunged. While your DUI arrest may stay on your record, anyone who runs a background check will see that you were never convicted of DUI. This can make a world of difference when you’re trying to get a coveted job or apply for a medical school or law school program.
The Expungement Process is Very Complicated and Can Take a Long Time
For most crimes in North Carolina, you can petition the court for an expungement after a certain time has passed. To request the expungement, your DUI lawyer in Asheville must first reach out to the court and file your initial petition.
Once the court reviews it, they will pass your petition on to the North Carolina Bureau of Investigations. They will then do their own, independent review of your request. This is a lengthy process. It will probably take a few months for the court to review your request. Once they have a chance to make their decision, the matter will be passed on to the next phase.
The problem is that it will take another nine months for the Bureau to make its final evaluation. During this time, any employer, school, or other institution that chooses to do a background check on you will see the arrest on your record.
This can cost you a potential job, entrance into a school program, or another opportunity. This can all be avoided, of course, by hiring a seasoned Asheville DUI attorney to get the charges dropped.
You’re Much Better Off if Your DUI Lawyer in Ashville Can Get the Charges Dropped
Rather than worry about whether you’ll qualify for an expungement, you should focus on getting the DUI charges against you dismissed. Even if you somehow qualify for an expungement, it is a very long, drawn-out process. You’re much better off if you hire a seasoned DUI lawyer in Asheville when the charges are first filed.
This way, they have plenty of time to prepare your defense. They may be able to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case and get the charges reduced or dismissed all together. Given the fact that DUIs are not expungable as a general rule, it’s important that you secure an acquittal. Or, as explained above, you need to get the charges dropped.
This is the only way your criminal record will stay clean. If you’re convicted, or you plead to a lesser charge, the arrest will remain on your record for at least ten years. Even then, there is still the chance that employers and others will see your DUI arrest on your background check.
We suggest you call our office within hours of your arrest. If you can’t contact our office from the county jail, have a friend or family member do it for you. There’s a good chance you’ll have to attend your initial hearing within a matter of days.
You don’t want to appear at this hearing alone. People who have an Asheville DUI attorney are at an advantage. Not only does your attorney know the law, but they’re also familiar with the prosecutor and their legal tactics.