DUI Arrest Records in Hampton Roads

DUI arrests can have long-term consequences for an individual. One of these consequences is that the arrest may stay on their record permanently. DUI arrest records in Hampton Roads could affect someone’s access to job opportunities, schooling, and do damage to their reputation. If an individual has been charged with a DUI offense and they want to know what their options are in terms of their record, they should consult a qualified DUI attorney that could advise them.

Are DUI Records Public?

In Virginia, a person’s arrests, including for DUI, are a matter of public record that may result in media coverage. They are available to everybody.

The arrest records are stored at the courthouse of each jurisdiction, maintained by the clerk’s office. The records, which are available online, include all of the various charges involved. The consequences of having a public arrest record include the obvious one that everyone can know about it.

In some Virginia jurisdictions, mug shots are listed online along with the booking information. Mugshots, or booking photos if they are available, are published on a website that serves as an information network of people held in custody.

Options for Dealing With an Arrest Record

People with DUI records in Hampton Roads do have some options on how to deal with their records, especially if the charge is dismissed. They may try to get the records of the arrest expunged, in which case the court usually will keep the records only for 10 years. After that time, the court will purge the records. Police departments also may do that for misdemeanors.

Sealing DUI Arrest Records

DUI records may be sealed or expunged under certain circumstances. A person is eligible for expungement if the charges were dismissed or dropped by the prosecution before a trial. That removes them from the public’s eye. A person also may request the court to seal the records, but it is rare for those requests to be granted because court cases are matters of police records. Simply asserting an embarrassment to win a request for some details of a case not to be revealed is not going to be enough to convince the court.

Differences Between Record Sealing and Expungement

The difference between records being sealed and being expunged is a major one. When DUI records in Hampton Roads are sealed, they remain in court files, but are not disseminated and cannot be unsealed by anyone but the court. The court may do so if a person asks for permission to view them. If a record is expunged, it is as if the case never happened; all records of an arrest or a charge are removed not just from the public eye, but the court’s as well. In those cases, a person is legally allowed to say they were not charged with the crime.

What Happens if Someone is Acquitted of Their Hampton Roads DUI?

If someone is acquitted of a DUI, their arrest record will remain available to the public unless it is expunged. The general district court in Virginia keeps all of the records on a case for 10 years. Police departments may have their own record departments and their own regulations and file management. If an individual wants to know more about DUI arrest records in Hampton Roads and what their options are, they should speak with a knowledgeable attorney that could inform them of their legal options.