Can You Expunge a DUI in Virginia?
You most likely will not be able to expunge your DUI in Virginia. Most people who ask this question have been convicted of a DUI. If you are convicted, that means you were found guilty. In Virginia, you can only expunge certain records. Virginia law section 19.2-392.2 says you can expunge the following:
- if you were acquitted (found NOT GUILTY) of the DUI
- if the prosecutor nolle pross’d the DUI
- nolle prosequi means “decline to prosecute” the DUI
- if the charge was “otherwise dismissed”
- if someone is found guilty, and later granted a pardon
- victims of identity theft for DUI
Expunging a Virginia DUI or DWI is very rare. Most prosecutors do not drop (nolle prosequi) a DUI charge unless there is a legal defense. You can potentially expunge a Virginia DUI in one of these situations.
What About a Conviction for DUI, Can You Expunge It?
The short answer is that Virginia law does not currently allow you to expunge a conviction. The only way would be if you were granted a pardon because you were really not guilty. If you obtain a pardon, then you can expunge the conviction for DUI. However, absent a pardon, you cannot expunge a DUI in Virginia.
The only other way to expunge a DUI in Virginia is if you were the victim of identity theft. Sometimes people get pulled over and use identifying information for someone else. The conviction then gets reported for the wrong person. I successfully expunged a case like this. My client had to show the court that he was not the person who got stopped. If someone used your information, then you can potentially have your DUI charge expunged from your criminal record. However, you will need to satisfy the judge that it was not actually you.
Is There Anything to Do?
If you do not meet any of these requirements for expungement then there probably is not anything you can do. Some judges and prosecutors take a pretty liberal view on expunging records. If you can convince a judge and/or prosecutor to go along with it, then some courts will bend a little on the rules. This is more common in situations where there is a first offender law. For example, marijuana possession has a first offender program. Technically, these charges were not eligible to expunge. However, many courts would bend the rule and expunge these records.
In the area of DUI, judges and prosecutors would be less likely to bend rules. Organizations such as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, and others keep track of DUI offenses. If judges were to start bending the rules, they would likely face a lot of backlash from the public.
Most DUI charges in Virginia begin in general district court. If that is the case, you have an automatic right to appeal your case within 10 days. If you are within your 10 day appeal period, then you can appeal your conviction to circuit court. However, if you want to expunge a DUI in Virginia from five or ten years ago it is likely not possible.