If you keep up on celebrity news, you probably know that just about anyone is at risk of being accused of driving under the influence (DUI). The likes of Mel Gibson, who angered fans with a drunken rant, and even future U.S. presidents have tangled with the courts after being arrested for DUI.
Being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to years of confusing court appearances followed by a lifetime clearing your name. The outcome of your DUI case will determine which steps will need to be taken next.
Unfortunately, a dismissal of the DUI charges against you is not the end of your ordeal. Without an acquittal, the original arrest will forever follow you. You have several options for having the arrest removed from your arrest record, but in some instances, it will still be available on criminal background checks.
As mentioned above, being found not guilty in court makes clearing your name fairly easy. The initial arrest will be promptly removed from your criminal record and you will not be assigned any points by the DMV. In addition, the arresting law enforcement agency has to shred any documents or photos related to the case.
Following a “Set Aside”
Upon the DMV’s decision to set aside your DUI and subsequent suspension or revocation of your license, you are legally free to begin driving again. This reinstatement of your privileges indicates that the DMV has decided that you are fit to drive again. However, be sure to review the notice with your DUI lawyer as this decision may come with some strings attached.
Implementing Plan B
In the unfortunate event that you are convicted of driving under the influence, your attorney will be prepared to assist you in obtaining a reduction in penalties. He may suggest that you undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, attend AA meetings, or seek counseling. Agreeing to these guidelines will go a long way to convincing a judge of your commitment to rehabilitation and result in lesser penalties.
Serving Your Sentence
Once you are sentenced, it becomes vital to follow through. Attend your meetings, find a counselor, and pay your fines. In the event you are given jail time, keep yourself out of trouble and stay in touch with your DUI lawyer as he may be able to get you an early release for good behavior.
Once you have completed all the necessary terms of your DUI sentencing it may be possible to have the conviction expunged from your criminal record. Be sure to contact your DUI attorney to get the process started to ensure your success and prevent delays. He will also be able to explain how the expungement will help you in the future.
There is no reason to allow a prior DUI arrest or conviction affect the rest of your professional life. Even if your charges are dropped or the DMV issues a set aside, you are still legally required to disclose your arrest on job applications. On the other hand, an expungement will remove the arrest from your criminal record unless you are applying for state licensure or a law enforcement position.
Reinstating Your License
In a case that has been set aside, your driving privileges will be instantly reinstated. If your case results in dismissal or acquittal, you will be forced to apply to the DMV to re-obtain your license. If you are convicted, your driving record will retain any related points for a period of 10 years.
Repairing Your Image
In this digital age, images of your arrest, mugshots, and other documents related to the event can so easily be uploaded onto the internet. As stated, an acquittal should lead to no physical record of your arrest, but news outlets and other web entities may need a little persuasion from your DUI lawyer to remove your image or records from their databases.
Steering Clear of Reoffending
So, you have taken all the necessary steps to clearing your name and cleaning up your driving record. The last thing you will want to do now is re-offend. Expungement of your prior conviction doesn’t even help you as the new charges will still be viewed as a second offense. Failing to follow DUI laws will result in harsher penalties and higher fines while also further decreasing your image and driving privileges.
Keeping in touch with your DUI attorney should not end when you finish with the courts. No matter the outcome of your case, he or she will be there to help guide you through what could be many years spent fulfilling court orders and repairing your image in the workplace and your community.