A St. Paul DWI Attorney Discusses How to Get a DUI Off Your Record in MN
If you have been convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) in St. Paul, the unfortunate reality is that your conviction will likely remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. This can lead to hardships personally and professionally. The good news is that it could be possible to have that conviction removed with the help of a St. Paul DWI Attorney. In recent years, Minnesota has broadened its expungement laws to include certain DWI convictions. Expungement is the act of having your criminal conviction removed from the public record.
An attorney could help you pursue the expungement of your criminal record when appropriate. What’s more, seeking out legal counsel early in the process could help you avoid ever being convicted of a crime. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller right away if you have been arrested for DWI in St. Paul.
How Long Does a DWI Stay On My Record in St. Paul?
If you are found guilty or accept a plea bargain for a charge of DWI in Minnesota, the conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. That might seem unreasonable to some. After all, even bankruptcies eventually roll off of your credit report. That is not the case with a criminal conviction. Barring some kind of court order, your conviction will be a matter of public record for the rest of your life.
Thankfully, the way that your DWI conviction impacts your life can change over time. This is due to something known as the “lookback period” in DWI law. In Minnesota, you will face steeper criminal penalties for second and subsequent DWI arrests compared to a first-time offense. However, not every conviction on your record counts for these purposes. That is where the lookback period comes in.
In Minnesota, the lookback period is ten years. That means when prosecutors charge you with a DWI, they will only consider misdemeanor convictions that have occurred in the 10 years prior to your arrest. If a prior conviction does not fall into the lookback period, it will not be counted when determining the penalties for your current charge.
That does not mean a DWI on your record won’t continue to haunt you. In addition to the shame that can follow a conviction, you could also deal with personal and professional difficulties due to the conviction.
It is worth noting that the lookback period only applies to misdemeanor charges. If you have been convicted of a felony DWI, that charge can increase the stakes of future DWI arrests for the rest of your life. This is the case because once you have been convicted of felony DWI, every future DWI arrest is also treated as a felony. This is the case no matter how long ago your felony DWI conviction might have been.
How Long Will a DWI Impact My Insurance Rates in St. Paul?
The amount of time your DWI remains on your record can affect you in other ways outside of criminal penalties. When you are convicted of DWI, you can also expect your insurance rates to go up dramatically. This is because the insurers will label you as a high-risk driver. In some cases, they might cancel your policy entirely.
So how long will a DWI impact your insurance rates? The truth is that every insurance company factors in DWI convictions in its own way. There is no law that sets a standard across the industry.
Insurance companies will not count a DWI against you forever, even if it remains on your record. However, you can expect your rates to go up for a number of years before they return to their previous levels. What’s more, having a conviction for a DWI could have a detrimental effect on your ability to secure discounts. Your rates could remain higher than they normally would even if you are not directly penalized due to the conviction.
Can I Have My DWI Expunged?
Expungement is the act of a judge sealing your criminal record from the public. This not only prevents the public from accessing records regarding your conviction, but it also allows you to answer truthfully on an application that you have never been convicted of a crime.
For many years, obtaining an expungement for a DWI conviction was not an option in Minnesota. Then in 2015, the law changed to broaden access to expungement for those convicted of DWI offenses. However, not everyone will qualify.
An expungement is only an option for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor DWI convictions. If your DWI is a felony offense, you will not be able to get the conviction off of your record. This means that most first-time offenders will eventually have an opportunity to seek expungement.
Before you can seek expungement of your DWI, you must complete the entire sentence. This starts with paying all of your fines, court costs, and restitution. It also means completing any jail term you might be sentenced to. In addition to the time you actually spent in jail, this also covers any probation.
Even if you otherwise qualify, there is no guarantee that your request for expungement will be granted by the court. The judge has leeway in determining if expungement of your record is appropriate. For that reason, it is crucial that you rely on the guidance of an experienced attorney throughout the process. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to assist you with every step of your DWI case, from arrest to expungement.
What Are Other Ways to Avoid a DWI Conviction on my Record?
There is no doubt that avoiding a conviction entirely is a much better outcome than having to expunge a conviction in the future. Even if you are ultimately able to expunge your conviction, it will not undo the jail time, fines, and personal hardship that the arrest originally brought.
With the right St. Paul DWI Attorney, you might be able to have your DWI case dismissed before it ever goes to trial. There are situations where a mistake made by police or prosecutors could compromise the evidence against you. In some cases, the evidence against you might be weak, to begin with. Our firm is prepared to help you pursue a dismissal of all charges early on in the process.
Even if a dismissal is not an option, we are prepared to aggressively defend your rights at trial. DWI is a defensible charge, with juries regularly acquitting people accused of driving drunk in St. Paul. Our firm could put in the work to help you secure a favorable outcome in your DWI case, making it unnecessary to ever worry about having those charges expunged from your criminal record.
Why Does a DWI Conviction Matter?
A conviction for DWI could continue to follow you for the rest of your life, even if you have already completed your full sentence. For some people, the presence of a DWI conviction on their record is the biggest hardship related to their arrest and conviction.
For starters, a DWI conviction can have a devastating impact on your career. Not only could you lose your current employment, but you could find it difficult to find a new job in the future. In Minnesota, there is nothing preventing employers or prospective employers from discriminating against you based on your prior criminal history.
A DWI conviction can also be used against you during a housing search. If you intend to rent a home from another person, your prospective landlord is likely to run your criminal history. Just like employers, prospective landlords can deny your application based on little more than a DWI conviction on your record.
Talk to St. Paul DWI Attorney About Your Case
It may be possible for you to get a DWI off of your record as long as you meet all of the qualifications. However, there is no guarantee your request will be granted. Your best chance at avoiding the penalties that come with a DWI conviction is to avoid a conviction altogether.
The St. Paul DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller are ready to get to work on your defense. We have a track record of success in these cases, and we will make sure you are treated fairly throughout the process. Call right away to schedule your free consultation.
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