Being charged with DUI is no walk in the park. In addition to the legal problems, there are social and financial repercussions. A DUI charge can end up costing you your job, cause other financial hardships, and the disruption of your family life. In Virginia, however, it is possible to be forgiven for your DUI charge: you can petition for a DUI expungement.
An expungement is when your DUI has been sealed from the public’s view. Only organizations or people given permission by a court would be able to see the charge on your record. In Virginia, DUI expungement only works if you entered an “innocent” or “not guilty” plea and you were acquitted of the DUI charge.
The exception to that is if you were convicted as a juvenile. If it has been at least five years since your last court hearing, your juvenile record is expunged when you turn 19 years old, unless you committed a crime that would have been a felony for an adult. DMV records can also be expunged, but usually not until you turn 29. If a person wants to request an earlier expungement, the court can be petitioned.
You will not qualify for a DUI expungement in Virginia if you:
- Were convicted of the DUI.
- Had or have an ignition interlock requirement.
- Have any pending DUI or other alcohol-related traffic charges.
You can obtain a Virginia DUI expungement by petitioning the court, but your expungement is not guaranteed. However, if your DMV record contains wrong information, and the court does not grant an expungement, you have the right to have the record corrected without a court order. If the mistaken information is from other states, you will need to contact those states to correct the record.
If you are unable to expunge your DUI, you may petition the Commonwealth Governor for a “Simple Pardon.” Requesting a “Simple Pardon” has its own set of rules, but if granted, your record will include a notation saying that the crime has been forgiven. This could help with future employment and housing applications and get you back on your own road to recovery from a Virginia DUI charge.