A DUI arrest record can be damaging for your professional career. More than 90% of employers say that they check their employees' criminal backgrounds. Having a misdemeanor or felony DUI can be a substantial barrier to being hired anywhere in Schaumburg, let alone seeking a license reinstatement.
A license suspension, and the loss of driving privileges, can place further barriers on people following a DUI arrest. In many states, individuals who have met certain qualifications can have their DUI arrest sealed. If you are wondering if you are a candidate for a sealed DUI offense in the state of Illinois, we explore that possibility below.
What Does it Mean to Seal an Arrest Record?
When a judge seals an arrest record, it is no longer readily viewable and accessible to the public. In other words, it gives the appearance that an arrest and conviction never existed.
The records are still obtainable through a court order, however. Having documents sealed isn't the same as having a judge expunge a record. When a judge expunges a record, it is completely deleted from the state's system of records.
Can My Attorney Seal My DUI Arrest Record?
Historically, having DUI records sealed was extremely difficult. In Illinois, even a first-time DUI offender in Schaumburg could only hope to have their record cleared if they were arrested, but never charged with a crime, or were found not guilty of DUI. They could also be free of a DUI arrest record if their case was dismissed, or if they received a pardon from the Governor of Illinois.
For most people, following a hearing and court proceeding, some sort of driver's license suspension is likely if you do not have an experienced defense attorney by your side.
Fortunately, HB 3934 may soon make it easier for Illinois residents to seal their DUI arrest records.
A Look at HB 3934
Illinois has had a longstanding prohibition against DUI expungement and sealing. Several past legislative efforts have failed to make DUIs expungable.
Courts have resisted those efforts, in part, because access to past criminal records is an important component of how court supervision and license reinstatement are handled. Now, there is a new legislative effort underway.
HB 3934 potentially offers a pathway for certain drivers, in Schaumburg and across the state, to seal their past DUI arrest records. The bipartisan effort has been largely successful because there is a lack of opposition from the Secretary of State and strong support among legislators for the house bill.
The pending House bill permits the sealing of Illinois DUI cases if all of the following criteria are met. The driver must not have previously been on supervision related to a DUI. He or she must also not have received a conviction in the state of Illinois for a DUI.
10-Year Waiting Period
Ten years or longer must have passed since the DUI case terminated. The DUI must not have been the cause of death or personal injury to another person. The person seeking a sealed DUI case must have no misdemeanor or felony charges on their driving record.
No New DUIs Since First Offense
The original DUI case must not have involved a plea agreement on a lesser charge other than DUI. The driver must also prove that they have not committed another DUI in Illinois.
Under the House bill proposal, the sealing of the DUI would only apply to that person's criminal record. It would not impede the Secretary of State's ability to maintain DUI records or their driving record.
Benefits of a Cleared Criminal Record
The benefits of a sealed criminal record are clear. Anyone who is applying for a new job would not have to worry about their past DUI charge coming up if the new House bill passes.
Having a cleared criminal record can also help individuals if a cop arrests them in the future. Past criminal records often lead to harsher sentencing for new criminal charges.
I've Been Arrested for DUI. Now What?
Even well-intentioned drivers end up on the wrong side of the law. You may have felt like you were fine when you first got behind the wheel. However, Illinois' 0.08 blood alcohol content law doesn't measure how you feel.
No matter how you ended up facing DUI charges, you can always benefit from working with an experienced lawyer in the Schaumburg area that can help. You don't want to face a DUI charge alone.
Our attorneys can help you avoid costly mistakes. Our primary job is to see that you have the option of a reduced penalty. As we follow the possible implementation of HB 3934, we'll inform you about how the House bill can help one day lead to a sealed arrest record.
Am I Eligible for Case Sealing Under HB 3934?
The Law Offices of John M. Quinn & Associates, Ltd, are following developments with HB 3934 very closely. The bipartisan support that the bill has, and the number of prominent co-authors, are both positive signs. While the bill has not yet been signed by the Governor, HB 3934 remains the most promising sign that Illinois will create a clear path to sealing a DUI arrest record.
If you believe you meet the qualifications mentioned in this article or simply have questions about HB 3934, our attorneys will be glad to answer any questions that you have.
Learn More About How to Clear Your DUI Arrest Record in Schaumburg
A DUI arrest record can be a significant setback in life. Once you are arrested, contact the Law Offices of John M. Quinn & Associates, Ltd.
Our Schaumburg area attorneys can help you avoid costly mistakes. At every point, we will work to reinstate your driving abilities and to help you settle your case favorably.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.