A DUI on your record can greatly affect your life and livelihood. A criminal record can keep you from getting a job especially if you have a felony conviction. Therefore, you may want to consider the possibility of a DUI expungement. There are different requirements for felony convictions than there are for misdemeanor convictions.

When is a DUI a Felony in Rhode Island?

First offense DUIs are often misdemeanors in Rhode Island. However, there is an exception to this rule. The exception is when you injure someone while under the influence of alcohol. An accident that results in injuries to another party will elevate your DUI charge to a felony. Under most circumstances, a second DUI conviction is also a misdemeanor. However, third and subsequent DUI convictions are considered felonies. Multiple DUI convictions make a DUI expungement more difficult.

What is a DUI Expungement?

An expungement is an order from the court to seal all of the records pertaining to a case. To receive a DUI expungement in Rhode Island, you must first file a motion with the court. While these motions are not overly complex, it is still probably best to hire an attorney to complete the process. There is also a court hearing for the purpose of ruling on the motion. A lawyer will understand how this process works and can help give you the best chance at receiving your DUI expungement. A lawyer understands how the courts work and can optimize both the motion and the hearing to set you up for success.

DUI Expungement Waiting Periods

One of the requirements to qualify for a DUI expungement is time. There are different waiting periods depending on the details of your case. For non-conviction rulings such as a not guilty verdict or dismissal, there is no waiting period for a DUI expungement. This means that once your case is over, you can immediately file a motion for expungement.

In a case that results in a misdemeanor DUI conviction, there is a five-year waiting period. However, this isn’t from the day of the court’s decision. You have to wait five years from the completion of your sentence to be eligible for a DUI expungement. Therefore, if you have a year of probation for a misdemeanor DUI conviction, the five-year waiting period will start once you complete your probation.

In cases that result in a felony DUI conviction, the waiting period is ten years. Again, this waiting period begins after you complete your sentence.

Other Requirements for Expungement

Besides the waiting period, there are additional requirements you must meet to qualify for an expungement in Rhode Island. The first requirement is not having any other criminal charges on your record. Additional criminal charges will make you ineligible for expungement in Rhode Island.

Additionally, there is an expungement fee that the court will require you to pay. The fee is $100, and it is due at the time you file your expungement motion.

The Benefits of Expungement

An expungement will seal all record of your arrest and conviction. Therefore, almost anyone that conducts a background check into your criminal record will not find anything. However, some government agencies and courts will still have this information at their disposal.

There are numerous benefits to having a DUI expungement. On top of all of the benefits you may think of, there are also some that you may not consider. Here is a list of some of the benefits of expungement:

  • Prospective employers can take convictions into consideration for applicants. The majority of states allow employers not to hire people that have arrest records and the same is true for convictions.
  • Federally funded public assistance plans such as food stamps are not available to those with criminal records.
  • Renting an apartment or house is much easier with a clean criminal record. While renters can’t discriminate based on other factors, they can take your criminal record into account when deciding whether or not to rent to you.
  • In the case of a felony conviction, have your record expunged could increase your chances of having your rights restored. States restrict the rights of people with felony convictions when it comes to voting and owning firearms.

An Attorney Can Help

While the process for a DUI expungement is fairly straightforward, you don’t want to go it alone. Chad Bank can help with all of your DUI needs. Whether you are facing new DUI charges or you wish to file for an expungement, Chad Bank has you covered. He will use his years of DUI defense experience to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.