Facing a DUI charge is nothing to take lightly. After all, if a court convicts you of DUI, you could have that mark on your record for the rest of your life. Unlike other states, Illinois law does not allow for the complete expungement of a drunk driving charge or conviction from your record.
As you may already understand, having a DUI conviction or even just an arrest could seriously affect future opportunities from housing to employment. Even if the DUI charge was reduced or dismissed, the arrest could still appear on your record and make you seem like a less-desirable prospect in some cases. Now, you may wonder if you have any options for addressing that mark on your criminal record.
Bill proposal may help
Earlier this year, a bill proposed in Illinois would allow DUI arrests and charges to be sealed but not entirely expunged from a person’s record. While an expungement acts almost like an erasure except under certain circumstances when officials need to access a person’s criminal record, sealing a person’s record keeps it from being accessible to just anyone while keeping it on record. So, if a future employer, for example, wanted to check an applicant’s driving or criminal record, the DUI charge would still show up.
It may not seem ideal, but sealing a record could go a long way in helping you and others who have faced such a charge. However, the proposal would only allow sealing under specific circumstances, including the following:
- You have not faced a conviction or required supervision in relation to a DUI.
- The DUI did not contribute to personal injury, death or property damage.
- At least 10 years have passed since your sentence came to an end.
- You do not have any other misdemeanor or felony driving charges on your record.
- A judge can verify that you have not previously committed a DUI under the Illinois Vehicle Code and that you did not make a plea deal for a lesser charge other than DUI.
These circumstances may seem strict, but having a DUI charge sealed is a significant action that the criminal justice system does not take lightly. It is also important to keep in mind that if this bill does pass into law, sealing of DUI records would need case-by-case assessment to determine whether it suits a person’s particular situation.