For many people, driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are a source of embarrassment and stress. Some people become so anxious about the prospect of going to court over a DWI that they simply plead guilty to the charge in the hop of reducing the penalties they face and the amount of work they must miss for court.
Whether you plead guilty to speed things up or wound up convicted despite attempting to defend yourself, if you have a DWI on your criminal record in Missouri, it can have a drastic impact on multiple areas of your life. Your criminal record could hold you back when you want to seek gainful employment. It could also impact your ability to secure student aid or enrollment in colleges and graduate schools. It could also affect your career itself if driving is part of your job.
Therefore, it is a common question for those dealing with the lasting consequences of a DWI conviction to wonder whether their offense is eligible for an expungement under Missouri law.
Certain people with DWI convictions may request expungement
The expungement or sealing of a criminal record can essentially let you resume life without that blemish on your permanent record holding your back. Although prosecutors and law enforcement may still be able to access the record of your arrest and conviction, other individuals performing background checks will not be able to find that information through state sources.
In order to qualify for an expungement of a DWI, the individual worried about the effect of their conviction on their future must meet certain criteria. The conviction must be for a DWI, not a lesser offense because of a plea deal. Additionally, the person seeking the expungement must have gone at least 10 years from the date of their conviction without any further alcohol-related arrests or convictions.
The courts review requests for expungement
The process of securing an expungement is not merely an administrative one. Your request will face review from a judge, and, in some cases, the prosecutor can contact the court and intervene in the process. For those who have avoided subsequent offenses, however, this kind of complication is less common. An expungement could be a way to secure a fresh start and move on with your life.