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Expungements of criminal records serve an important purpose

Imagine that you have been convicted of a drunk driving charge. The legal penalties associated with this conviction are bad enough -- you have fines to pay, you can't drive your car, and you narrowly avoided jail time. But there are other consequences associated with a DUI, such as having a criminal history that follows you everywhere. When you look for work or try to find a new place to live, your criminal history could make it very difficult to achieve these goals.

A DUI conviction can be scrubbed from your records through an "expungement." Criminal expungements may be viewed as sneaky or as an attempt by the individual to hide his or her criminal past. But to the contrary, an expungement doesn't erase all traces of your conviction. It just makes it so that potential employers and landlords (among others) aren't influenced by that one mistake in your past.

Your conviction will still exist, and if other criminal actions arise in the future, your expunged conviction could be pointed to by prosecutors. But in the absence of another criminal charge, an expungement gives an individual the chance to reclaim his or her life without their criminal history getting in the way.

Depending on where you live, the process of applying for and attaining an expungement varies. It is by no means a sure thing, and it could take some considerable planning to make an expungement come to fruition. However, with a criminal defense attorney helping you along the way, you could attain that expungement and move on with your life.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Expungement," Accessed Oct. 23, 2014

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