People make mistakes. Plain and simple. Many of us believe in second chances and the opportunity to move forward from bad decisions, but unfortunately that isn't always the reality.
A conviction for even a first-time drunk driving offense can hold a person back for many years, long after they serve their sentence.
If you have a DUI/DWI on your record, you might find trouble getting a job. It can even prevent you from getting into college. And, it could affect your child custody arrangement, among many other facets of your life.
These and other long-term repercussions of criminal charges are among the reasons that Minnesota recently made it easier for people to expunge criminal records. An expungement essentially erases the record of a conviction so that people can move forward.
In January 2015, a state law went into effect that made it possible for more people to expunge certain offenses, including DWI/DUI, from their records. However, Minnesota's DWI task force is now calling changes to the expungement process. The task force wants to make it more difficult yet again for people to clear DWIs from their criminal records.
Fox 9 reports that at least five people expunged DWIs from their records in 2015.
Nonetheless, the task force maintains it is too easy for people to obtain expungements of DWIs. Others believe expungements are still difficult to come by and people should not have to continue paying for one mistake indefinitely.
In fact, although it is easier for ex-offenders to get a second chance through expungement than it used to be, it remains very challenging. Not all ex-offenders qualify for expungements. The law applies primarily to misdemeanors, juvenile delinquency and low-level felonies. You must serve your sentence, as well as satisfy a waiting period during which you remain law-abiding, before you can apply for expungement. Many other requirements apply.
If you are in need of clearing or sealing a criminal record, you should talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your options.