A DUI conviction has major and severe consequences, including fines, potential jail time and loss of a driver’s license. The stigma from a DUI conviction can last a lifetime, jeopardizing employment and damaging relationships with family and friends. It can also affect future opportunities, if potential employers do a criminal or background check.
Fortunately, a pending new law, House Bill 3934, would allow a record of a DUI conviction to be sealed if certain conditions are met. These conditions include:
- The prior DUI sentence ended 10 or more years ago
- The DUI did not cause injury or death to anyone else
- The person has no prior DUI convictions
- No new DUI, misdemeanor or felony driving charges have occurred
The new law would apply to a person’s Illinois criminal record only, not their driving record. Therefore, even if the DUI is successfully sealed, a search of a person’s driving record would still reveal the DUI conviction to anyone running a search.
However, having a DUI sealed from a criminal record would still be extremely beneficial. When a DUI is committed, DUI history is used to determine the misdemeanor or felony status of the new charge. DUI history is also taken into consideration in the penalty phase of a new charge, affecting things such as driver’s license reinstatement or court supervision eligibility and terms.
Don’t face a DUI alone
Regardless of whether or not House Bill 3934 eventually passes, a DUI charge is always something to be taken seriously. Many people feel afraid and intimidated during a DUI arrest, and a subsequent DUI charge can cause feelings of confusion and panic. There are many options available and numerous ways to fight a DUI charge, and it is vital to have a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side.