You grow up hearing about your permanent record. Your parents or teachers probably told you that if you did something wrong, “It will go on your permanent record.” As you got older, you probably thought it was something they made up. Well, they were actually right. You do have a permanent record. What’s more, a DUI conviction in Virginia can negatively impact your record for the rest of your life.
Most people don’t realize that there is something out there that is an actual arrest record. This is kept on a computer database by the FBI for almost all jurisdictions and is called the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Almost all jurisdictions report to the NCIC, and it basically keeps records of all arrests and convictions. Unfortunately for many people, it is a permanent record of an arrest even if the person is never tried or convicted. The public, however, does not have access to the NCIC, nor do employers.
States also maintain arrest records within their criminal justice systems. Arrests are usually a matter of public record. If you go on the internet and type in “arrest record,” hundreds of hits will pop up offering services that will supply you with arrest records in Virginia. If you are arrested for DUI, it will be on your arrest record for the rest of your life, and there is not much even the best DUI defense attorneys can do about it.
Simply put, your criminal record will reflect a conviction after you have been convicted. Just to be clear, if you plead guilty or enter a plea of nolo contendre or a no fault plea, it still counts as a conviction. Once the conviction is on your record, it is very difficult for it to ever be removed. No matter what you may have heard or read, getting a conviction removed from your record seldom ever happens.
Getting a conviction removed from your record is called expungement. Virginia law provides for a relatively easy process for having police and court records expunged in certain situations. Unfortunately, the situations that they typically apply to don’t include those that are post-conviction, with one exception. An order of expungement in the case of acquittal, nolle prosequi (a situation wherein the prosecuting attorney chooses not to prosecute the case even though the charges have been filed and the case has begun its way through the system), dismissal by the prosecution, or when an individual’s name has been used in error. The only post-conviction situation where expungement can be used, barring extraordinary circumstances, is in the case of an absolute pardon. As someone famous once said, the odds of getting an absolute pardon are slim and none, and slim has left the building.
Convictions are a matter of public record. Any employer conducting a background check will be able to see this criminal record. Any agency conducting an investigation for a security clearance will also be able to see the conviction. Therefore, the best possible route to avoid having a DUI conviction appear on your record is to not get convicted. This is the place where a good DUI defense attorney can help you. Jad Sarsour has been defending clients in Northern Virginia against DUI charges for years. Give him a call today at (571) 316-2639 to set up your initial consultation. He has the skill and ability to help ensure that the conviction never happens and never goes onto your record.