June 9, 2021
TIRED OF HAVING A DUI CONVICTION ON YOUR RECORD?
Under Missouri law, if you have a prior conviction for a DUI* then you have the ability to petition the Court to have your DUI expunged from your records. Having a record of a DUI conviction can cost you potential jobs, higher insurance rates, certain professional licenses, and even travel rights to certain foreign countries which is often a job requirement. Why worry about how a DUI from your college days might affect your future.
REASONS FOR WANTING A DUI EXPUNGEMENT
There are a number of reasons someone might be interested in seeking an expungement of their DUI conviction. Often it simply amounts to someone becoming tired of having to explain a night of drinking in college which led to a DUI record to prospective employees every couple of years. Others are interested in clearing their records in order to stop having to pay higher car insurance rates because of a DUI. And some people just prefer to have a clean slate and not have their otherwise pristine record blemished by a DUI.
Whatever your reason for wanting to a DUI expungement, seeking a qualified Missouri DUI Attorney to represent you in your expungement can streamline the overall process for you. An experienced attorney will screen you for eligibility, paying careful attention to ensure that all prerequisites have been completed prior to you spending your money on filing fees, service costs and attorney's fees. Your attorney will make the entire process easy for you by drafting a petition, preparing you for your hearing and walking you through your court appearance step-by-step to make sure that you only have to do this once.
THE MISSOURI DUI EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS
Before you can have your DUI conviction expunged, Missouri first makes you meet a certain threshold. If you can meet these preliminary requirements, then you can ask the Court for an expungement. After a petition is filed and the respondents (opposing parties to your petition) have been served with your petition, they will file their answers and a hearing will be scheduled. The Court will hear evidence from both sides at the hearing; and, afterwards, it will make its decision. If your expungement is granted, then the Court will enter an order for the various entities with a record of your DUI to expunge it.
EXPUNGEMENT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
It has been least 10 years since your conviction or plea of guilty to a first an intoxication-related driving offense.
The conviction or plea of guilty must have been for a First alcohol-related traffic offense.
The conviction or plea of guilty must have been for a Misdemeanor, or county or city ordinance.
The alcohol-related traffic offense must not have involved a Commercial Motor Vehicle.
The Individual must not have any convictions, pleas of guilty or any pending actions for any intoxicated-related traffic offenses since their first.
You either do not have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) or you are not required to have one.
You have not already had a prior DUI expunged.
If you can check off each of these items, then you are eligible for having your prior DUI conviction expunged. Before doing so, you must petition the Circuit Court of the County where you were convicted or entered a plea of guilty.
Felony DUI Convictions Are Not Eligible for Expungement.
WHAT YOUR ATTORNEY WILL DO FOR YOU
Once you meet with a Missouri DUI Expungement Attorney, such as Anthony Bretz, he will review your driving record and the underlying DUI case in order to first determine if you are eligible to have your DUI expunged. Assuming you meet this initial threshold, then it will be necessary to confirm each of the Respondents that will need to be named in your petition. This is an important step, which if overlooked could result in an expungement being granted but being practically useless if one of the entities maintaining a record of your DUI conviction is not named.
After determining the respondents, your attorney will draft a detailed petition on your behalf. Occasionally, a court may request or require a criminal history background check by the Missouri State Highway Patrol be completed prior to the hearing. Anthony Bretz is familiar with the courts in the St. Louis area, Jefferson County, St. Charles County and Franklin County, and will make sure your petition has all requirements met before your hearing. Having to appear in court twice because your petition did not have a requirement is the last thing you want to deal with. Our office knows how important this is to you and take great care to make sure your hearing goes smoothly.
Once the petition is filed, the Court will issue a Summons for each respondent. Our office will make sure that these are properly served upon the respondents so the Court will be able to proceed at your first scheduled hearing date.
After the opposing parties are served, each has the opportunity to file an Answer and Objections to your petition. Our office will go over these with you and draft and file any responses that they might require. Often, it is the case that most Answers are rather straightforward and do not require any response.
Prior to the hearing, Missouri DUI Expungement Attorney Anthony Bretz will prepare you for your hearing. It is often necessary for a petitioner to testify as to the accuracy of the contents in the petition, though some Courts will accept an Affidavit signed by the petitioner in lieu of live testimony. Whichever option your Court prefers, Anthony Bretz will prepare you so that your hearing proceeds without any hiccups.
WHAT HAVING AN EXPUNGEMENT MEANS
ONCE YOU GET AN ORDER TO EXPUNGE YOUR DUI RECORD, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
An expungement does not destroy any records of your DUI. Rather, the order makes any record or files from both your administrative and court cases confidential and only available to any of the parties involved, or by court order for good cause shown.
The effect of such order shall be to restore such person to the status he or she occupied prior to such arrest, plea or conviction and as if such event had never taken place. RSMo. Sec. 610.130.3.
You are placed in the same position as if you had never been stopped and arrested for your first DUI. This means that you can legally, and without fear of committing perjury or being convicted for giving a false statement, refuse to answer or answer in the negative any questions about whether you have an arrest, plea, trial, conviction or expungement for your expunged DUI.
One possible exception to your ability to deny having been arrested, entered a plea of guilty, or been convicted is RSMo. Sec. 610.140.9, which deals with expungements of certain offenses other than Driving While Intoxicated:
A person granted an expungement shall disclose any expunged offense, violation, or infraction when the disclosure of such information is necessary to complete any application for:
(1) A license, certificate, or permit issued by this state to practice such individual's profession;
(2) Any license issued under chapter 313 or permit issued under chapter 571;
(3) Paid or unpaid employment with an entity licensed under chapter 313, any state-operated lottery, or any emergency services provider, including any law enforcement agency;
(4) Employment with any federally insured bank or savings institution or credit union or an affiliate of such institution or credit union for the purposes of compliance with 12 U.S.C. Section 1829 and 12 U.S.C. Section 1785;
(5) Employment with any entity engaged in the business of insurance or any insurer for the purpose of complying with 18 U.S.C. Section 1033, 18 U.S.C. Section 1034, or other similar law which requires an employer engaged in the business of insurance to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment; or
(6) Employment with any employer that is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment due to federal or state law, including corresponding rules and regulations.
The DUI expungement statute, RSMo. Sec. 610.130, does not carve out this exception but you should be aware of it all the same.
WHO WILL HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR DUI RECORDS?
In most DUI cases, besides yourself, the other parties who will have access to your record include the Department of Revenue, the arresting police agency, the Prosecuting Attorney's office, and the Court in which your criminal case was adjudicated. Therefore, these parties can use their records to prevent you from gaining a second DUI expungement in the future, since you are only permitted one.
Anthony Bretz can assist you in seeking the expungement of your DUI conviction or plea of guilty. Contact Anthony Bretz now to see about putting your past mistake behind you. If you have a clean record since your DUI, it's your right to have your name cleared. Let us help you now!
*Many people commonly refer to a Missouri Driving While Intoxicated charge (DWI) as a DUI. For ease, I have chosen to simply use the term 'DUI' rather than 'DWI' or "DUI/DWI'.