DUI Expungement and Setting Aside Conviction - Explaining the Difference
Drunk driving charges need to be taken very seriously. A drunk driving arrest can be a major stain on your record, and it can actually affect your ability to obtain employment during your life. That's why so many people ask our DUI attorneys what they can do if they have been convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.
In many other states, expungement is the best course of action, though statutes are different in Arizona. We'd like to look at this issue of expungement and what we can help clients in the state do if they would like to address the conviction on their criminal record.
About DUI / DWI In Arizona
A brief reminder about what it means to be a drunk driver in Arizona. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for motorists 21 years old and older is 0.08%; the legal limit is 0.04% if the driver is driving a commercial vehicle. There is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to people under the age of 21 driving while under the influence of alcohol, even if their BAC is within the legal limit.
Penalties for drunk driving conviction include fines, jail time, installment of an ignition interlock device, license suspension, and so forth.
What is expungement?
Expungement is a term that refers to the sealing of arrest or criminal records. This means that arrests or convictions do not need to be disclosed, even to potential employers or landlords.
In the state of Arizona, there is no expungement option. Instead, a criminal/DUI defense lawyer can help a client with a "Motion to Set Aside Conviction," which operates much differently than an expungement.
Motion to Set Aside Conviction in the State of Arizona
The motion to set aside a conviction does not seal a criminal record. Instead, the criminal record will show that the person was charged with the offense, convicted of the offense, but the ruling was set aside and an order of dismissal was then entered. Any rights lost or disabilities imposed as a result of the conviction are thus restored.
Should I seek to set aside my drunk driving conviction?
This is generally a good idea since it will allow employers and others doing background checks to look upon your record more favorably.
What to Expect from the Process
In essence, a client must fulfill his or her legal obligations as a result of the DUI or DWI conviction, which means serving all jail time, paying all fines, and so forth. Be sure to get documentation that all of these were completed. Those who served jail or prison time for their DUI conviction will need to wait two years before petitioning to have their charge set aside.
A written application will need to be filled out with all documentation included. A hearing date will eventually be set following receipt of the application, though it is not necessary to attend this hearing. The judge's final ruling regarding your petition will be sent by mail if you do not attend.
What Our Attorneys Will Do for You
The process of getting a DUI conviction set aside can be complicated, so our attorneys will help make the process go easier. Our team will be here for you each step of the way, providing all the advice that you need to make smart decisions.
Learn More About DUI / DWI Cases
For more information about drunk driving cases and what our legal team can do for you, be sure to contact our Tempe, Arizona DUI / DWI defense attorneys today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the best results with regard to your legal rights.