Archive for the 'Expungement' Category

DUI Supervision: No Record?

Regarding Illinois DUI cases, one of the benefits of judicial supervision is that it prevents people from being convicted of DUI. As a matter of law, a person on supervision for an offense has not been convicted of the offense. But, this doesn’t mean that the DUI disappears in any way. A person should not equate the lack of a conviction with not having a record. DUI supervision can’t be expunged (officially erased), so there will always be an arrest and court record where a court sentences a person to DUI supervision.

So, what is the point of not being convicted of DUI? One of the most significant benefits of not being convicted deals with revocation of driving privileges. A sentence of DUI supervision will not trigger a revocation whereas a conviction will.

But note that a revocation in a given case is separate from any statutory summary suspension in the case.   Revocations are often on top of (in addition to) statutory summary suspensions.

Further note that, as a general rule, revocations are worse than suspensions.

Jeremy Richey

More About DUI Expungement

In a previous post, I discussed how DUI cases cannot be expunged in Illinois.  That post assumed that the inquiring person either plead guilty to a DUI charge or was found guilty of a DUI charge.   A DUI case and arrest may be expunged if a person is found not guilty after a trial or if the DUI charge is dismissed.  But, if a person pleads guilty to a DUI charge or is found guilty of a DUI charge, then the person cannot expunge his DUI case.  This is true even if the person receives a sentence of judicial supervision.

Jeremy Richey

Don’t Delay Expungement

It is common for a person to call a lawyer and want the lawyer to immediately get the person’s past criminal case expunged.  Often, the potential client is seeking a promotion or new job and doesn’t want his criminal history to come back to haunt him.  It is also often the case that the person could have avoided the “emergency situation” by calling the lawyer long before the “emergency” arose.

Unfortunately, records cannot be expunged overnight.  It takes a lawyer time to evaluate a person’s eligibility.  It takes a lawyer time to draft and file the appropriate paperwork.  It takes time for the court process to occur.  It takes time for the appropriate governmental entities to expunge their records after a judge orders them to do so.  Since expungement is a slow process, a person should seek expungement the first day he is eligible for it and not when he needs it later down the road.

Waiting is also a bad idea because things can happen to cause a person to lose his eligibility for expungement (e.g., the person receiving a later ordinance-violation conviction).  Putting off petitioning for expungement can only hurt a person; it will not help him.

Jeremy Richey

First-Offender Probation & Expungement

Since we no longer have a war on drugs, let’s start doing things that help defendants get their lives back together.  One small thing we can do in Illinois is shorten the expungement waiting period for people sentenced to first-offender probation.

In Illinois, first-offender probation is a possible sentence in some drug cases.   With first-offender probation, the defendant does not receive a conviction.  With that stated, absent expungement, a defendant will still have a paper trail even if he is not legally convicted of the crime that he is receiving first-offender probation for.  He will still have an arrest record in a state police database and a public court file that anyone can review.   Furthermore, in most Illinois counties, some of the person’s case information will be publicly available on the Internet through judici.com or some other website.   A felony paper trail (regardless of whether the defendant is legally convicted of the crime), among other things, can make it difficult for a person to get a job.  When a person’s first-offender probation is expunged, it disappears from the state police database, the court system, and judici.com.  So, expunging first-offender probation is a good thing for a defendant who is trying to get his life back together.

Currently, a person is eligible to expunge his first-offender probation five years after successfully completing first-offender probation.  Since first-offender probation lasts two years, this means that it will be seven years after a judge enters the sentencing order before a person can begin the expungement process.  Why not reduce this wait period from five years to two years (or even less)?  Currently, many misdemeanors are expungeable two years after a person is successfully discharged from supervision.  The sooner a person can get the stain of his arrest and sentence removed from the public record, the sooner he can move on with his life.

Jeremy Richey

Can My DUI Be Expunged?

Answer: No. A DUI case cannot be expunged in Illinois.

A person asked this question to a search engine and the search engine guided the person to this weblog. I don’t believe I have answered this question on this weblog before, so I will now.

Generally, when a person receives a sentence of judicial supervision, the person’s case may be eligible for expungement down the road. But, if the person pleads guilty to DUI and is placed on judicial supervision, then the person will never* be able to expunge his case. This is the law in Illinois.

Jeremy Richey

*OK, you could get a pardon that authorizes expungement, but good luck with that.  Your chances of getting such a pardon are slim to none.

Related Post:

More About DUI Expungement

The Word Is “Expungement”

Quite a few people have trouble spelling the word “expungement.”  Recently over at LawGuru, I have seen people ask questions about espungement and exspongement.  Neither of these spellings is correct.  You might be able to expunge your criminal history but you cannot espunge or exsponge it.

Jeremy Richey

How Many Innocent People Enter Guilty Pleas?

Victoria Osteen, wife of televangelist Joel Osteen, is a defendant in a civil lawsuit that is currently being tried in Houston. According to the AP, the lawsuit stems from a fit Victoria allegedly threw “when a spill on the arm rest of [Victoria’s] first-class seat was not quickly cleaned up.”

While I initially read the story out of curiosity to learn more about a pastor’s wife gone wild, the impetus for this post is the portion of the AP story that says that Osteen paid an FAA fine due to the incident, but claimed that she did not do anything to deserve the fine:

The Federal Aviation Administration fined Victoria Osteen $3,000 for interfering with a crew member. The Osteens said they did not want to pay the fine but thought it would be the best way to put the incident behind them even though they felt they did nothing wrong. [More]

I have no opinion regarding whether Victoria Osteen should win her lawsuit, but if she didn’t do anything wrong, I am not surprised she paid the fine. In the criminal world, defendants plead guilty all the time to charges they would like to fight. Some do this because they are not willing to take their chances at trial because the State’s plea offer is too good to pass up. Some do this because, like Osteen, they would rather enter guilty pleas and get on with their lives than spend lots of time getting to know a judge. Still others do it for any number of other reasons.

People are particularly susceptible to taking a plea when a minor crime is involved. For example, suppose that a guy is pulled over for speeding. After a consent search, the police find a marijuana joint. Furthermore, suppose the guy is a straight arrow and would never smoke marijuana. Where did the joint come from? The guy’s younger hippie brother borrowed the car the day before the stop; the joint is his. The State offers the straight arrow a year of judicial supervision plus certain fines, fees, and costs. Supervision means that the case can be expunged two years after a judge discharges the guy from the sentence of supervision. The straight arrow knows that he isn’t going to do anything to jeopardize his eligibility for expungement and he has the money to pay the fines. He decides to plead guilty because he fears that if he goes to trial and is found guilty, the judge will punish him for going to trial by not sentencing him to judicial supervision.

So, how many innocent people enter guilty pleas to charges filed against them? Like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

UPDATE: Osteen wins.


BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.