Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on August 12, 2022.
Do you have an OVWI (also known as OWI) conviction lingering on your record? Is it inhibiting your ability to find gainful employment, apply for a loan, or be accepted into educational programs? Whatever the case, an OVWI conviction can have long-lasting consequences on your life. You may be fed up with the stigma surrounding your driving while intoxicated conviction. No matter your reason for desiring an OVWI expungement, the Eskew Law attorneys have a decade of experience helping clients clear their records of old OVWI convictions.
In Indiana, OVWI is synonymous with DUI. If you were arrested for DUI, the formal charge would be operating a vehicle while intoxicated or OVWI. The two terms are interchangeable. But expungement petitions for any charge can be pretty complicated, so if you want to clear your record, we can help.
Indiana OVWI Expungement Law
An expungement allows you to clear criminal arrests, charges, and convictions off your record. It essentially erases the infraction from your past. Every state has its laws addressing expungements.
Our attorneys are often asked, Can you get an OWI expunged in Indiana? The short answer is that it depends on the circumstances. Indiana expungement law is tough on driving while intoxicated offenses. In Indiana, as in several other states, you can erase the DUI arrest record and charge, but you cannot expunge the conviction.
When Can You Get an OWI Expunged in Indiana?
To qualify for an OVWI expungement in Indiana, you must meet specific time requirements. If you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI, there is a five-year waiting period. If you were charged with a felony DUI, there is an eight-year waiting period. If you have multiple arrests for DUI, you may be ineligible altogether.
Generally, a first OWI with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.15% or using a controlled substance is considered a misdemeanor unless aggravating circumstances are involved.
An OWI may become a felony if your BAC is above .15% or if this is your second or subsequent offense within a seven-year period.
If you are unsure as to your eligibility, the OWI expungement lawyers at Eskew Law., can answer your questions and discuss your options.
Factors the Court Considers When Reviewing Expungement Petitions
If your OWI arrest or charge qualifies for an expungement, the court will review your petition and take several factors into consideration before granting or denying the petition. Of course, you will want to include any mitigating factors and extenuating circumstances that may help convince the court to grant your OVWI expungement application. These factors may include:
- Showing steady, gainful employment;
- An otherwise clean criminal and driving record;
- If you suffer from a disability; and
- Financially responsible for family or children.
When it comes to assessing your eligibility for an expungement on a driving while intoxicated offense, the court tends to focus on your driving record. Specifically, the court will focus on the time between your arrest and the time you are applying for an expungement. In other words, if you receive a one-year license suspension for a first OWI offense and then have an immaculate driving record for the next four years of the waiting period, the court is more likely to grant your expungement. However, if during your waiting period you get charged with additional OWI offenses, the court will be less likely to grant the expungement.
Each case is unique. An adept attorney will take time to get to know you, understand your situation, and recommend what pertinent information to include in your petition.
How to Get a DUI Expunged?
The general process for expungement is as follows:
- Completing the petition and obtaining any supporting documentation,
- Filing the petition and paying the filing fee,
- Serve copies on necessary agencies,
- Obtaining a hearing date, and
- Attend a hearing, if required.
Although the steps may seem straightforward, there is a lot of paperwork and nuances involved. An attorney can streamline the process.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If you are seeking an expungement of any kind, especially a DUI expungement, it is best to have a skillful lawyer on your side. Expungement petitions are complicated, lengthy, and require precise steps to be followed. For one, you must serve all agencies involved with the initial arrest and charge with notice of the petition. You must also adhere to specific timeframes in the filing process. Perhaps most importantly, these petitions are costly. Hiring a well-versed lawyer from the start could save you a tremendous amount of time and money in the long run.
Contact Our Attorneys to Schedule a Consultation
When can you get an OWI expunged in Indiana? Don’t let your DUI haunt you any longer than it needs to. Contact Eskew Law., today. During your initial consultation, we will assess your case, explain the law, and discuss your options and eligibility. We founded our firm a decade ago with the precise goal of helping those struggling in situations like yours. Entrust your future to the hands of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the experienced lawyers at Eskew Law, today!