DUI convictions can harm a person’s reputation, rights, and career prospects long after any penalties have been paid. In many states, people convicted of DUI offenses have no options for clearing their names, but recently, some states have taken measures to allow people to move forward after their guilty verdicts. For example, Michigan recently passed laws allowing people convicted of certain DUI offenses to expunge and seal their records. While the Michigan law does not impact the status of DUI convictions in Illinois, it may be a sign that tides are shifting towards leniency on the issue. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to meet with an Illinois DWI defense attorney to discuss your options for seeking a just outcome.
The Michigan DUI Conviction Expungement Law
The Michigan state legislature recently introduced bipartisan bills that would allow people with fist offense DUI convictions to expunge their records in certain cases. The bills were ultimately signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and went into effect in February 2022. Pursuant to the new law, approximately 200,000 non-repeat offenders will be eligible for expungement.
The first iteration of the law provided that people must wait three years after their DUI conviction to seek an expungement; a later bill that took effect in March 2022 enlarged the waiting period to five years. Regardless, people convicted of DUI offenses can now petition the courts to have their records expunged. Only first-time offenders are eligible for expungement; repeat offenders cannot clear their records. Additionally, people convicted of DUI crimes that resulted in death or serious injury or who had a child under the age of 16 in their vehicle at the time of the offense are ineligible as well. Finally, the law does not permit people who were operating commercial vehicles with a commercial driver’s license at the time of their offense to obtain expungements.
Illinois Laws Regarding Expungement of DUI Convictions
Unlike Michigan, Illinois does not allow parties who have been convicted of DUI offenses to expunge or seal their records. Instead, under Illinois law, only people who were either found not guilty of DUI or arrested but not charged with DUI offenses can seal or expunge their records. While there have been attempts to modify the laws to allow parties to seal DUI convictions in certain cases, none of the proposed legislation has passed. As such, anyone conducting a criminal background check in Illinois would be able to uncover a person’s DUI conviction.
Speak to a Trusted Illinois DWI Defense Attorney
DUI convictions can irreparably alter the course of a person’s life, and it is critical for anyone charged with a DUI crime to hire an attorney who will fight zealously on their behalf. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a trusted Illinois DWI defense attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you to seek just results. You can reach Mr. Harvatin through the form online or at 217.525.0520 to set up a meeting.