How Can a DUI Cause Difficulties in Your Career?
A DUI conviction in Colorado can severely hinder your ability to secure new employment or advance in your current job. Many employers conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction can be viewed negatively, potentially indicating a more significant issue such as alcoholism. This can lead to concerns about job performance, reliability, and increased costs related to job injuries or missed work days. Specific jobs, especially those requiring driving, may be directly impacted, as a DUI conviction can make you ineligible for positions that involve operating a vehicle.
Removing a DUI from your searchable record could significantly affect your employment opportunities, but it’s essential to understand the nuances of the law and the limitations on expungement for DUI convictions. While expunging a DUI conviction in Colorado is not possible for those charged as adults, sealing or expunging a DUI arrest that did not result in a conviction may offer some relief and improve job prospects. A knowledgeable Colorado DUI defense lawyer can help you explore your options for limiting the impact of a DUI on your future work opportunities.
What is the Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a DUI?
In Colorado, the terms “sealing” and “expunging” refer to two different legal processes related to handling criminal records, including those related to DUIs. Expungement is the process of completely clearing the offense from a person’s criminal record, making it as if the incident never occurred. Once a record is expunged, no one can access it, and you can legally deny that you were ever arrested, charged, convicted, or sentenced for the expunged offense.
When a criminal record is sealed, it means that the record is hidden from public view, including most employee background checks. The record itself remains physically intact and can still be accessed by certain government agencies, prosecutors, and police. Keep in mind that the court may choose to unseal the records if you are charged with other crimes in the future.
How Can You Expunge a DUI?
Expunging your record requires petitioning the court in the county where the DUI charges occurred. However, in Colorado, the eligibility requirements for DUI expungement are detailed. For a DUI offense occurring during adulthood, the standards for expungement are as follows:
- The DUI case did not end in a conviction.
- The arrest happened at least ten years ago.
- The requesting individual has a clean criminal record with no charges since the DUI arrest.
Convincing a judge to expunge your DUI arrest may be challenging, as it is an irreversible change to your criminal record. Having a well-versed lawyer on your side can help you avoid errors that could endanger your petition.
What Can You Do if You Are Ineligible to Have Your DUI Expunged?
If you do not meet the stringent standards for expungement, you may still be eligible to have your DUI arrest sealed. Records related to a DUI arrest that did not result in a conviction may be sealed under certain circumstances, including:
- Dismissal of the case by prosecutors.
- After the completion of a deferred judgment.
- Acquittal of the charges by a judge or jury.
If your DUI arrest occurred after January 1, 2022, and prosecutors did not charge you with DUI within a year of your arrest, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation should automatically seal your arrest record. More extended time frames apply to arrests made before that date. If this has not occurred, you should contact a lawyer for advice.
What is the Process For Sealing a Colorado DUI Arrest?
While the exact steps for getting your record sealed may vary based on the circumstances of your arrest, the following is the typical process for those arrested for a Colorado DUI:
- Confirm eligibility: Ensure that your DUI arrest did not result in a conviction. If you were convicted, you would not be able to petition to have your record sealed. Specific instances of deferred judgment for felony DUI offenses may also be ineligible for sealing. If you have questions or concerns about your eligibility, discussing the situation with a lawyer is recommended.
- Get copies of your records: You will need to request a verified copy of your criminal record from law enforcement to include with your petition.
- Fill out and file the petition: You must fully complete the Motion to Seal Non-Conviction Records form and file it with the prosecuting attorney in the appropriate court. In many cases, you will file with the court where your charges were initially heard.
- Wait for a court review: The court will then review your petition and either accept or deny it. In some cases, you may be required to attend a scheduled hearing before the court makes a final determination on whether or not to seal the record.
- Inform all applicable agencies: If the court issues an order to seal, you must provide this information to any agencies holding your criminal record to ensure they comply with the order. Be mindful that the records will not be sealed until this step is completed. Employers and others will be able to view your record during the petitioning process, which can take three to six months.
The laws and processes related to sealing records can be complex. It’s always advisable to consult with a legal professional when considering sealing a DUI arrest record.
Can You Expunge an Underage Drinking and Driving (UDD) Conviction?
One of the only DUI convictions in Colorado that may be eligible for expungement is a UDD conviction. If you were charged as a juvenile and you are now at least 21, you may be able to petition the court to remove the conviction from your permanent record if you meet these criteria:
- Had no other UDD convictions.
- Did not hold a commercial driver’s license at the time of the arrest.
- Completed all terms of the sentence.
If you are seeking a fresh start as an adult and wish to have a UDD conviction expunged, it is vital to consult a skilled legal representative who can guide you through the process.
How Can an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer Help You Protect Your Employment Prospects Following an Arrest?
When they are arrested for a DUI, many people think of the potential criminal penalties, including jail time and hefty fines. Unfortunately, a DUI can also cause damage to your ability to seek or maintain employment, particularly in careers where driving is a necessity. Not only is avoiding a Colorado DUI conviction the only way to retain your ability to have your record expunged or sealed, but it can also be crucial to maintaining your driving privileges and commercial driver’s license.
Whether you have recently been charged with a DUI or you are seeking to remove a past DUI arrest from your record, our highly qualified attorneys at Liberty Law Center can provide solid legal representation to help you reach the best possible conclusion in your case. Contact our office today at 719-602-7381 to request a free consultation to learn about your legal rights.