In the state of Missouri, there are a variety of criminal offenses that can be expunged or permanently removed from your criminal record, giving you the freedom to potentially have an easier time finding employment, going back to school, or receiving other necessary privileges. One category of offenses that you may have expunged from your record involves convictions and/or guilty pleas for alcohol-related driving offenses.
In order to get an alcohol-related offense expunged from your record, you are typically required to petition or apply to the court in the county where your conviction or guilty plea occurred, requesting the court to issue an order asking the Department of Revenue to expunge all records related to your conviction. An order requesting that all of the court’s own records be expunged will additionally be filed at the same time, effectively making your conviction disappear.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated), DUI (driving under the influence), or MIP (minor in possession or under the influence of alcohol) conviction, taking the necessary steps to file an order to have the conviction removed from your records is highly recommended and can benefit your life in a tremendous way. With the help of a skilled and knowledgeable Columbia, MO DWI expungement lawyer, you can get the freedom you need and deserve.
Understanding Missouri DWI Expungement Laws
For alcohol-related driving offenses such as DWI and DUI convictions, Missouri law states the following:
“After a period of not less than ten years, an individual who has pleaded guilty or has been convicted for a first alcohol-related driving offense which is a misdemeanor or a county or city ordinance violation and which is not a conviction for driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and who since such date has not been convicted of any other alcohol-related driving offense may apply to the court in which he or she pled guilty or was sentenced for an order to expunge from all official records all recordations of his or her arrest, plea, trial or conviction.
If the court determines, after hearing, that such person has not been convicted of any subsequent alcohol-related driving offense, has no other subsequent alcohol-related enforcement contacts as defined in section 302.525, and has no other alcohol-related driving charges or alcohol-related enforcement actions pending at the time of the hearing on the application, the court shall enter an order of expungement…” (577.054.1 R.S.Mo.)”
What does this mean for you? The law requires that you petition or “apply” to the court in the county in which you were convicted and request the court to issue an order of expungement. You are able to request the order only if the following conditions are met:
- It has been ten (10) years since you were convicted of or pled guilty to an alcohol-related driving offense
- The conviction or guilty plea was related to your first alcohol-related driving offense and was a misdemeanor
- You were not convicted of or pled guilty to driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence
- Since the conviction, you have not been convicted of any other alcohol-related driving offenses
- Since the conviction or guilty plea, you have had no subsequent alcohol-related enforcement contacts and/or alcohol-related driving charges on your record or that are pending at the time of the application/petition to the court
If any of the above requirements are not met, you will not likely be able to succeed in getting your conviction expunged.
Contacting the Right Columbia, MO DWI Expungement Lawyer
As you can imagine, requesting an expungement can involve complicated work. A Columbia, MO DWI expungement lawyer will be able to argue on your behalf if a hearing is requested as well as help you file a petition that will give you the highest chance of success possible. Remember, even if you do meet all the above requirements, the final decision is always up to the court. Hiring a lawyer who is willing to speak on your behalf and talk highly of your personal conduct, etc., can make a world of difference.
If you need an alcohol-related driving conviction expunged from your record, it’s important to contact an attorney who has experience obtaining expungements. At Thomas Law Offices, our lawyers have had experience in obtaining expungements and can answer any questions you may have about the process. Call our office today to learn more.