If your criminal record contains a charge for DUI, driving under the influence, you can face personal hardship for the rest of your life. That charge will make it difficult to acquire any job that involves driving, for one. You will also have to disclose the charge to any potential employers, as well as state and federal agencies.

In order to avoid this anxiety, get your DUI charge removed from your record. This is also known as having the charged expunged, sealed or set aside. Each state will have a different procedure for having charges expunged.

Find Your Record
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First look into obtaining your criminal record in the state you were charged with a DUI. Start by visiting the state’s government website. There you should be able to find out where your records are housed and how to ask for them. For the most part, states hold the records with a Superior Court Clerk, a Department of Justice or some other law enforcement branch.

Request Your Record
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Once you’ve found it, request a copy. Every state allows citizens to obtain copies of their own record. You can do it in person or via the mail, but either will be free. However, you may have to give your fingerprints at a police station to prove you are whom you say you are.

Find the Charge
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Review your criminal record and find the charge of DUI. In states like Massachusetts, they will continue a first time incident of DUI without a finding. Therefore, your conviction won’t show up on your record. Before proceeding, make sure your criminal record reflects your DUI.

Review The Expungement Protocol
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Go back to the state government’s website and review the protocol for expunging a record. First, you’ll want to confirm your crime is one that can be expunged. States like Oregon, for example, do not allow convictions of DUI to be erased. Other states have the same rule regarding felonies, crimes involving children or violent crimes.

Make Sure You Qualify
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Review the protocol to make sure you personally qualify as well. In most states, a certain amount of time needs to pass first before expungement can happen. Other times, probation or jail time must be completed first.

Gather The Relevant Documents
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The instructions should list a number of relevant documents you’ll need to gather. Contact your superior court clerk if you have any questions. These documents often include proof of paid fines, confirmation of completed jail time or completed probation.

Fill Out The Form
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Using blue or black ink, fill out the entire form being completely truthful.

File Your Application
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In some states, you can mail your application in. Others will require that you bring it into court. Either way, make sure you file your application appropriately and pay the corresponding fee.

Wait For A Response
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You will simply need to wait until you hear back from the government. More than likely, your petition will be heard in a closed hearing, meaning you will not be able to attend.