Sealing Public DC DUI Arrest Records
While public DC DUI arrest records may have the ability to affect one’s future, know that a dedicated DC criminal defense attorney can help you fight for their expungement. Read on to learn more about public DC DUI arrest records, as well as the ways a professional DC DUI lawyer can make a difference for you.
When an individual has a prior arrest and goes to court, the fact that they were charged is available online. If the case is expunged, the arrest is expunged. An individual’s record of arrest housed under the MPD is more difficult for anyone in the general public to obtain. It is possible that someone could obtain that through a freedom of information request, but is not otherwise easily accessible.
Options Available to Deal with an Arrest Record in DC
When a case is disposed of favorably because the case was dismissed or the person was found not guilty of a DUI, there is an opportunity to have the arrest sealed or expunged. That depends on whether there is a statute that governs the situation and the nature and circumstances of why the case was resolved favorably. There is a specific timeframe in which a person can try to have their arrest sealed or expunged.
Arrest Records After DC DUI Acquittal
An individual who is acquitted on allegations of driving under the influence does not automatically have their arrest record sealed or expunged. Record sealing and record expungement are separate legal matters. They can only be requested after someone’s criminal case is completed. When an individual is acquitted after a trial of driving under the influence, they have two options for sealing or expunging their underlying arrest and criminal records. The first is by proving that the individual is innocent of the DUI charge, and the other includes showing that there is no public interest in maintaining arrest records where they were not found guilty of the crime.
Proving One’s Innocence
It is important to understand in these situations that being acquitted at a trial does not serve as proof that the individual is actually innocent. Being acquitted at trial means that prosecutors cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is actually guilty. To expunge that record, the burden shifts to the individual making the request to prove they are innocent as opposed to not guilty. The legal standard is different to prove one’s innocence as opposed to the government’s burden to prove someone guilty.
If an individual cannot prove their innocence, they still have the option of showing that there is no public interest in maintaining arrest records in a situation where they were found not guilty of the crime. Under current law, a four-year wait would be required from the date of acquittal before an individual can make that request.
Sealing Process and Regulations
DC law has a number of circumstances in which a person can request to have their arrest or their court records sealed from public view. There is a long list of rules and requirements for a person to determine whether they are eligible to have their arrest record sealed. The most common situation in which a person can have an arrest record sealed is when their arrest did not result in a conviction of the crime for which they were arrested. In those situations, a person is always eligible to make a request to seal the record. However, the eligibility has a number of rules.
First and foremost is the time a person needs to wait before they can request to have their arrest record sealed. In some situations, a non-conviction arrest record can be sealed immediately and in other situations, a non-conviction arrest requires to be a certain number of years old before it can be sealed.
These rules can be somewhat complicated, so it is important to discuss them with an attorney who is experienced with DC expungement laws to get a better idea of what can be expunged and when. In some situations, an arrest that resulted in a conviction can also be expunged, but these conviction records also require a lengthier wait period. Sometimes, certain convictions cannot be expunged.
The Role of an Experienced DC DUI Attorney
Until an individual’s case is sealed or expunged, the arrest record does remain a public record. That means that on the DC Superior Court website, anyone can search the court database and find the docket of someone’s DUI court case. In some situations, an individual’s arrest record comes up in background checks. This highlights the importance of retaining a skilled DC DUI lawyer in these situations who can assist in record expungement. If you require assistance in the expungement of public DC DUI arrest records, reach out to a weathered DC DUI attorney today to schedule your initial consultation.
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