Having a Driving Under the Influence (hereinafter “DUI”) conviction on your record can be a stressful and restrictive experience. You may face license suspension, probation, mandatory community service hours, or potentially imprisonment. Moreover, the consequences you face for the years following your DUI conviction will depend on countless different factors. Most notably, the number of prior DUI convictions you have tends to play a pivotal role in the penalties you pay. Typically, a DUI sentence is based on the number of previous convictions you have, facing minimum versus maximum penalties. In Rhode Island, while first-time offenders may receive up to one year in jail time, most do not go to jail, unless someone was seriously injured. Contrastingly, a second offense requires a minimum mandatory imprisonment period. However, what happens after you have paid your dues for a past mistake?
To learn more about what happens after you have faced the consequences of a previous mistake and the process of regaining a life free of restrictions, continue reading. If you would like to learn more about your DUI conviction and potential expungement, contact Brett V. Beaubien Esquire for your free consultation. Here, we will discuss your current situation, examine your best options, and get you back on your feet!
What is the Difference Between Having My DUI Sealed Versus Expunged From My Record?
The sealing and expungement of a DUI from your criminal record achieves the same goal; they can both remove a DUI charge from your criminal background. Even though commonly used interchangeably, the sealing and expungement from criminal records have notable differences. However, the difference is more so procedural. Whether a Motion to Seal or a Motion to Expunge should be filed will be contingent on a few factors, such as:
- Whether your DUI charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty at the conclusion of a trial. In this case, filing a Motion to Seal will generally be best.
- Whether you entered a plea bargain to a DUI charge or if you were found guilty of a DUI. For these scenarios, filing a Motion to Expunge may be more appropriate.
During your consultation, be sure to discuss the details of what happened in your previous case.
In Rhode Island, Can I Get My DUI Expunged?
Yes, in Rhode Island, you can get your DUI conviction expunged. However, there are requirements that must first be met for eligibility. For first time offenders, the requirements are:
- You are a first time offender. To qualify, you cannot have any previous convictions of any other crime nor placed on probation for any other crimes.
- You have waited for the required expungement duration. Regarding misdemeanor convictions, you must first wait five years from the date of the completion of your sentence. If you have a felony conviction, you must wait ten years.
For those with multiple misdemeanor convictions the requirements are more stringent, such as:
- You cannot have more than five misdemeanor convictions. If you have seven or more misdemeanor convictions, you no longer qualify for a DUI expungement.
- You have no felony convictions.
- You have waited for the required expungement duration. While first-time misdemeanor offenses require a five-year waiting period, those with multiple misdemeanor convictions must wait ten years since the completion of their last misdemeanor sentence.
- You have not been arrested or convicted. During the ten-year required waiting period, you cannot be arrested or convicted of any felony or misdemeanor.
- You cannot have pending criminal cases.
Further, it is advantageous to exhibit good moral character and signs of rehabilitation.
How Do I Get My DUI Sealed From My Criminal Record?
There are less stringent requirements that must first be met in order to seal a DUI conviction, in comparison to having a DUI conviction expunged. In Rhode Island, a DUI conviction can be sealed if:
- You are “not guilty.” You must be acquitted or otherwise exonerated of all counts of your DUI case to qualify for a DUI conviction seal.
- The motion to seal is filed immediately. Unlike a motion to expunge, you do not have to wait five or ten years to file a motion to seal.
Effectively, the DUI case will not remain on your criminal record if your DUI conviction is sealed.
How Long Will A DUI Stay On My Record In Rhode Island?
In the majority of DUI cases, a DUI will remain on your record for at least five years. As previously noted, this is the required waiting period before you are able to file a Motion to Expunge a DUI misdemeanor charge in Rhode Island. If you were convicted of a felony DUI, the DUI will stay on your record for at least ten years. However, this is only the minimum wait time. If you do not meet the other expungement eligibility requirements, there is a possibility that a DUI charge may remain on your criminal record for life.
What Can Brett V. Beaubien Esquire Do For My DUI Expungement Case?
The process of DUI expungement cases is a complicated and lengthy process that must be handled with care. You need to consult an attorney who is well qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable on DUI cases, expungement cases, and criminal procedure. During our initial consultation, Brett V. Beaubien Esquire will evaluate your current cases, further examining your criminal record to determine whether you are eligible for expungement. If so, Brett V. Beaubien Esquire is here to guide you through the expungement process, gathering any required information, submitting vital court documents, and providing you with expert advice. If you are looking for a fresh start and wish to expunge a DUI from your criminal record, contact Brett V. Beaubien Esquire today for your free consultation!