Your criminal history can have a significant impact in that it affects the ability to get a job, a loan, security check, and many other pertinent things. Once a person gets arrested and or convicted of a crime, a criminal history is recorded and usually stays on your record in perpetuity. A criminal history record is made up of two parts, the first part is the record of arrests and the second part is the record of convictions. A conviction record is made when an accused either pleads guilty or is found guilty by a jury at trial.
The record of arrest remains even if your case is dismissed. However, a record of arrest and a record of conviction can be removed from the public record by Order of Expungement. To gain an Order of Expungement, one must file an Application for Expungement that consists of several forms and attachments, including the booking information and court recordings of the proceedings, called minutes.
As a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is considered a criminal offense, an arrest and or conviction for DUI/DWI remains on a person’s record indefinitely unless the record is expunged. The expungement is not a complete eradication of the arrest/conviction; however, as a record of a DUI/DWI conviction will remain on the police record and is not removed, even if an Order of Expungement is obtained. The Order of Expungement serves to hide the criminal history record from the public view.
Obtaining an Order of Expungement is not an easy process nor is it granted easily. It is not unusual for the Order to be signed a year or more after the initial application filing. The cost of a Petition for Expungement is expensive, around $600 or more plus attorneys fees, and can be denied if any agency decides against granting the expungement.
For the purposes of enhancement, in Louisiana any subsequent DUI/DWI is enhanced to increase penalties. For example, a second offense DUI/DWI is still a misdemeanor but it requires mandatory jail time by law plus the fine is significantly increased. A conviction of a third offense DUI/DWI is a felony and carries a mandatory jail time up to 20 years plus a much greater fine.
After 10 years from the first conviction, even though the record remains, a conviction of DUI/DWI will again be prosecuted as a first offense.