You want to take your DUI off your record. Can you?
You got a DUI after celebrating your 21st birthday. Decades later, it is still on your criminal record. You would really like to not have it as part of your criminal history, a reminder of your wild days. What are your options? Can you have your DUI expunged or removed in some other way?
Unfortunately, this is not an option in Georgia. A DUI conviction can never be removed. Even though a DUI is classified as a misdemeanor, it is an aggravated misdemeanor. This means that a DUI is not eligible to be expunged or pardoned unless you were never convicted. Read on to learn more about what this means.
A record restriction is your only option to remove a DUI from your record. However, a restriction is only available in three situations:
- Non-convictions. Cases that are closed without conviction usually qualify for restriction. This includes charges that are closed, dismissed, or placed on the “dead docket.” Cases with not guilty verdicts and vacated/reversed convictions can also be restricted.
- Youthful offenders. Certain misdemeanor convictions that occurred before a person turned 21 years old also qualify for restriction. However, a restriction is not available for DUIs.
- Charged with a felony but convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor. A felony charge may be restricted if it was closed without conviction, and you were only convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor offense. The court will determine if a restriction is appropriate if it is causing you harm, such as difficulty getting housing, a job, housing, or license.
Keep in mind that even if you get your record restricted, the prior offense can still be seen by judges, prosecutors, police officers, state bars, and other state agencies.
Also, even if your case was dismissed, a record restriction does not happen automatically. Your criminal record will show the arrest as well as a disposition saying “dismissed.” The record restriction must be taken as a separate step.
Georgia law does not allow restrictions for felony convictions, regardless of how much time has passed since your conviction. Felonies, however, may be eligible for a pardon from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
What this means is that there is nothing you can do for a DUI conviction after the fact. The result of a DUI case in Georgia is forever. This is why you need to be proactive and act quickly as soon as you are arrested for a DUI. You need to take it seriously and hire a lawyer to aggressively defend you as soon as possible.
Contact Our Atlanta DUI Defense Attorneys Today
Many of us made mistakes when we were younger, but unfortunately, a DUI conviction cannot be removed from your criminal record. While a record restriction is available in certain circumstances, a DUI is not one of them.
The Georgia criminal defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam can review your criminal records and help you understand your legal options. Fill out the online form or call (404) 561-0202 to schedule a consultation with our office.