The State of Illinois has a zero tolerance policy for DUI convictions. Our state has some of the harshest penalties for DUIs, with a minimum one-year license revocation after just the first offense. Second and third offenses incur five and ten-year revocations, respectively. Illinois takes DUIs very seriously, which means that if you are convicted of driving under the influence, that conviction will remain on your record forever. If you were arrested for or convicted of a DUI, you may be wondering what you can do to make that conviction less public. Unfortunately, in the state of Illinois, there isn’t much to do:
Expunging the Conviction
In the state of Illinois, expungement means that the state will destroy physical copies of a person’s criminal record and will remove a person’s name from both official and public records in regards to a certain crime. The Illinois Criminal Identification Act allows for some individuals to expunge their record of arrests, probation, and court ordered supervision for particular felonies and misdemeanors. Unfortunately, in Illinois, a DUI conviction cannot be expunged. Whether you were tried as a minor or an adult, and even if you only received probation, you cannot have your DUI conviction expunged.
Sealing your Record
The Criminal Identification Act also allows for the sealing of a criminal record: restricting access to your record to a required court order. This means your criminal record still exists, but it is unavailable to the general public, and can only be accessed by the order of a judge. In typical felony situations where a conviction can’t be expunged, sealing your record is the perfect alternative. Unfortunately, the state of Illinois does not allow a DUI conviction to be sealed either.
Will your Illinois DUI Conviction stay on your record forever?
At this point, it’s clear that you can’t seal or expunge your record of a DUI. So does this mean that if you’re convicted, you have to live with it for the rest of your life? In most standard cases, the answer is yes. There are only two ways to erase a DUI from your record.
It was a DUI arrest – One of the only ways to erase a DUI is if you were just arrested for the charge. If you then went to trial and were found “not guilty,” you can have that arrest expunged. You will simply need copies of your charges, the police record recording your arrest, proof that your case was dismissed, as well as your case numbers and court records. From there, you and a trusted attorney can easily have the arrest expunged. Please note that a DUI arrest is not the same as a conviction.
A Governor’s Pardon – The only way to expunge a DUI conviction from your record in the state of Illinois is through a governor’s pardon. You may talk to your attorney about this possibility, but governor pardons are extremely rare. The governor does not often authorize pardons, and especially not for DUI convictions.
The best way to ensure that your criminal record stays clear is to avoid an Illinois DUI conviction in the first place. If you have been arrested for a DUI and are facing trial, it’s important that you have an experienced Illinois DUI attorney who can help you fight your case. It’s much easier to fight the charge and receive a lesser sentence than it is to deal with a permanent DUI conviction on your record. If you’re not sure what to do about your case, make sure to talk with one of our expert DUI attorneys. The Epstein Law Firm has been handling Illinois DUI cases for years, and we’re confident we can help you with yours. For your free initial case evaluation, call our office at 773-522-7000, or request an appointment online!