In today’s blog, the Rhode Island DUI expungement lawyers at Abilheira Law answer frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding expunging a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Rhode Island.
What is the Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a DUI Record?
Sealing and expungement accomplish the same goal: removing a DUI charge from your criminal record. However, whether a Motion to Seal or Motion to Expunge is appropriate will depend on the outcome of your case:
- If your DUI charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty after a trial, you should file a Motion to Seal.
- If you entered a plea to a DUI charge or where found guilty of a DUI, you should file a Motion to Expunge.
Can I Get My DUI Expunged in Rhode Island?
Yes, so long as you meet the eligibility requirements for expunging a DUI in Rhode Island:
- You must be a first time offender, meaning that you have not been convicted of any other crimes nor placed on probation for any other crimes
- You must have waited the required time for expungement (5 years for misdemeanors, 10 years for felonies)
- You must exhibit good moral character
- You must be “rehabilitated”
Keep in mind that you may also seal a DUI, as mentioned above. A Motion to Seal has less stringent eligibility requirements:
- You can file the motion immediately when the case is over, without the need to wait five or ten years
- You do not need to be a first time offender. This means that you can still seal a DUI and remove it from your record even if you have other misdemeanor cases on your criminal record. You can even have felony charges on your record, so long as you do not have a previous felony conviction (a fine, suspended sentence, or jail sentence on a felony charge.)
How Long Will a DUI Stay on My Record in Rhode Island?
In most cases, a DUI will remain on your record for at least five (5) years. This is the waiting period for expunging a misdemeanor charge, like a DUI, in Rhode Island. However, if you were charged with a felony DUI charge (such as a DUI resulting in serious bodily injury or death), the charge could remain on your record for at least ten (10) years. Keep in mind that this is true only if you meet the other expungement eligibility requirements listed above. Unfortunately, if you do not meet the expungement eligibility requirements, a DUI charge may be on your criminal record for life.
How Do You Get a DUI Expunged from Your Record in Rhode Island?
The first step in getting a DUI expunged from your criminal record is to determine if you are eligible. You should consult with an experienced Rhode Island DUI expungement attorney to ensure that you are eligible. Your expungement lawyer can then take care of the remaining steps for you.
Once you determine you are eligible, you should draft the Motion to Seal/ Motion to Expunge. You should then file the Motion with the appropriate court (the court that originally heard the DUI charge). The court clerk will then assign your Motion for a hearing date.
The next step is to send notice (a copy of the Motion with the hearing date listed). You must send notice to the Department of the Attorney General, the agency responsible for handling all Motions to Seal and Motions to Expunge in the State of Rhode. You will also need to send notice to the police department that originally arrested and charged you with the DUI.
It is crucial that you appear for your hearing date, prepared to explain why you are eligible for a Motion to Seal or a Motion to Expunge. If you have filed an expungement, you may need to explain to the judge how it is that you have been rehabilitated and how you have demonstrated good moral character.
The last step is the most important and perhaps most overlooked step in the expungement process. If your Motion to Seal or Motion to Expunge is granted, you must get certified copies of the Court Order. These certified copies must then be distributed as follows:
- The Department of Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Identification
- The arresting police department
- The Department of Motor Vehicles- Operator Control/Adjudication Office
If you fail to follow through on this last step, the DUI charge will remain on your criminal record and your driving record, and your fingerprints, photographs and other information pertaining to your arrest will stay on file with the State and Federal government. You must send the certified Court Order to these agencies to guarantee that all evidence and records of the DUI case are destroyed and removed.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a DUI Expunged in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, there is no fee due for a Motion to Seal. However, when a Motion to Expunge is granted, there is a $100.00 fee due to the Court. This is the only cost associated with a DUI expungement, other than attorney fees.
Does a DUI Expungement Affect Your Insurance?
While every insurance company has different policies, in general, a DUI expungement can help remove the charge from your criminal record and driving record, which may lead to lower insurance premiums.
Do I Need to Appear in Court for a DUI Expungement?
If you plan to represent yourself, you must appear in court. However, many individuals will hire an expungement attorney to appear in court on their behalf. This is especially helpful if you live out of state, cannot afford to take time out of work or school, or have other commitments that prevent you from getting to court.
Will the DUI Expungement Lawyers at Abilheira Law Represent Me?
Absolutely! Our dedicated team of Rhode Island expungement lawyers will review your criminal record to ensure that you are eligible for expungement and will handle your expungement from start to finish to guarantee that it is handled correctly.
If you are interested in expunging a DUI from your criminal record in Rhode Island, do not hesitate a moment longer, contact our experienced expungement attorneys today for your free consultation!
Our attorneys provide free expungement consultations.
Call us today to find out if your DUI is eligible for expungement!