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The consequences of a DWI conviction could follow you for the rest of your life. This is possible, in part, because in most cases your DWI conviction will remain on your record forever. Motorists dreaming of a break on their car insurance may hope for that conviction to eventually roll off their driving record, but the sad reality is that for most people that day will never come. 

The good news is that while a DWI conviction might stay on your record forever, there is only a limited window in which the state can use that conviction to enhance future DWI charges against you. 

Ask any credible DWI Defense attorney in Minneapolis, and they will tell you that the best way to avoid future complications is to obtain an acquittal in your DWI case. While no attorney can guarantee your acquittal, the right legal counsel could maximize your chances of a favorable outcome. Call the DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller right away to learn how they can help with your case. 

The Permanency of a DWI Conviction

Under most circumstances, a DWI conviction will stay on your record forever. Your arrest and conviction could be present on background checks for the rest of your life even if you never get so much as a speeding ticket afterward. The permanent status of these convictions extends beyond DWI charges, reaching implied consent violations as well. 

The lone bright spot is that while a conviction will show up on your driving record, prosecutors will be unable to use it to enhance a future DWI conviction after a set amount of time. Prior convictions play a role in determining the severity of a DWI charge, but the state may only count those that occurred within 10 years of the current offense. In other words, older DWI convictions may be problematic for you, but they won’t result in steeper penalties should you get arrested for DWI years later. 

Consequences of a DWI on your Record

The potential consequences of a DWI on your driving record are substantial, even beyond the possibility of the state using it to enhance a future DWI charge. Long after you pay your fines or serve your time, a DWI conviction could impede your efforts to improve your quality of life. Some of the ways a DWI on your driving record can impact your life include:

  • Difficulty Maintaining Employment. The state cannot use an old DWI charge against, but that does not mean your employer shares those limitations. There are no protections based on prior criminal history, which means an employer could deny you a job or fire you from a position you currently hold.
  • Housing Problems. Like employers, landlords also make frequent use of background checks. Also like employers, they are free to discriminate based on the criminal history of an applicant. 
  • Higher Insurance Premiums. A conviction for DWI can wreak havoc on your insurance premiums. While each carrier addresses high-risk drivers differently, some policies will continue penalizing you for a DWI conviction in perpetuity.  
  • College Application Problems. Colleges and universities run standard background checks for anyone applying to undergraduate or graduate degrees. While an old DWI conviction may not act as a bar to your selection for higher education, it could be a factor that limits your opportunities among schools. A conviction could also hamper your access to scholarship funds. 

Depending on your case facts, an experienced DWI Lawyer in Minneapolis can help minimize and even beat your charges and their consequences.

Expungement Options

For years, individuals with a DWI conviction were out of luck when it came to clearing the conviction from their criminal record. That changed in 2015, when the Minnesota legislature loosened some of the restrictions on expungement. The right to expunge a criminal conviction is not absolute, and only certain DWI convictions will be considered. 

Expungement is only available in Minnesota for misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, low-level felonies, and juvenile delinquency. As well-practiced Minneapolis DWI Defense lawyers, we know that there are a series of requirements even for cases that fall into those categories. 

First and foremost, it should be noted that expungement is only an option for someone that has completed their sentence entirely. This means that mandatory jail time was served, fines and restitution were paid, and any probation or parole has been completed. Once the sentence has been served, expungement may be an option. 

In total, there are 12 factors that the court must consider when hearing an expungement request. These factors are written into law at Minnesota Statute Section 609A.03

  1. The nature and severity of the underlying crime, the record of which would be sealed
  2. The risk, if any, the petitioner poses to individuals or society
  3. The length of time since the crime occurred
  4. The steps taken by the petitioner toward rehabilitation following the crime
  5. Aggravating or mitigating factors relating to the underlying crime, including the petitioner’s level of participation and context and circumstances of the underlying crime
  6. The reasons for the expungement, including the petitioner’s attempts to obtain employment, housing, or other necessities
  7. The petitioner’s criminal record
  8. The petitioner’s record of employment and community involvement
  9. The recommendations of interested law enforcement, prosecutorial, and corrections officials
  10. The recommendations of victims or whether victims of the underlying crime were minors
  11. The amount, if any, of restitution outstanding, past efforts made by the petitioner toward payment, and the measures in place to help ensure completion of restitution payment after expungement of the record if granted
  12. Other factors deemed relevant by the court

The court will weigh each of these claims when making their decision on an expungement petition. An experienced DWI attorney in Minneapolis could work to demonstrate that each of the 12 elements points towards the necessity of an expungement. 

Craft Your Defense with a Skilled Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney

The options for removing a DWI conviction from your record are limited. In the end, the best way to safeguard your future is to avoid a DWI conviction altogether. By fighting back against these charges, you could earn an acquittal and keep your criminal record clear. Contact the attorneys at Gerald Miller right away at (612) 341-9080 to discuss your options during a free consultation. 

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.


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