Having an OUI offense or Operating under Influence under your professional and civil records will bring problems to you down the road particularly in employment and immigration.
Loans for housing and education may also be more difficult to get an approval especially when these institutions do a background check and evaluation for your character.
The good news is that it is never a hopeless situation to strike out an OUI conviction in your public records. With the help of a process called expungement, you can live a worry free life where past antics and misdemeanors will never affect your future.
Motion for Expungement
A motion to expunge your OUI conviction is to essentially erase from your personal records that you were even charge with a criminal offense in the first place. It may be the most ideal situation for you but it will take a lot of time and effort to make it possible.
For starters, your conviction would have happened at least ten years ago. You would also have to hire a good lawyer with a wealth of experience in expungement to make it happen. You can’t do it alone.
Moreover, recent developments in our law have made it close to impossible to have an effortless expungement of your OUI case. A Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Commonwealth v. Boe, 456 Mass. 357 has stated that expungement is not possible and sealing of your records.
Record Sealing: Helpful or Dubious?
Sealing your criminal records is usually offered as an alternative to protecting others from seeing that you have had an OUI conviction. However this is not recommended by some legal experts because hiding your records will have an implication that you are concealing a criminal offense that is very worse in nature – when in truth you were just caught drunk driving.
However, sealing your records is a matter of right. But as mentioned earlier you have to earn it ten years after your conviction. Typically, once your records are sealed, most companies won’t hold this offense against you anymore whenever a background check is being done on you on the following cases:
- Job applications
- College applications
- Landlord considerations for rent
- Professional licensing board decisions.
You can also request a judge to hear your case about the sealing of your records. With the help of your lawyer, you can argue that your need to move on with your life is more important than the public interest of having your record known to law enforcement agencies. If you are truly repentant and have turned over a new leaf, you have a very significant chance of getting a positive consideration.
A Case Study: the State of Maine
In the State of Maine, first time perpetrators of OUI cases are typically expunged. But there is a pre-requisite condition of fulfilling specific elements. Typically, one of these requirements involves an alcohol education course, an order for the installation of an ignition interlock device and community service.