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Can you expunge a DUI conviction in Colorado?

Probably no one has to tell you that driving drunk is a big mistake in the Centennial State. After all, Colorado has some of the toughest DUI penalties in the country. Even worse, because alcohol causes your reflexes to slow, you may injure yourself or others if you climb behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration above Colorado‚Äôs 0.08% legal limit. 

Anyone facing criminal charges knows how intimidating the justice system can be. If an officer arrests you for driving under the influence, you may plan to plead guilty and try to erase the conviction from your criminal record later. Unfortunately, Colorado law only allows expunctions under limited circumstances. 

No conviction 

Regrettably, if a judge or jury convicts you of drunk driving, Colorado law offers no way to expunge the conviction. The same is true if you plead guilty, which is the same as a conviction under state law. You may be able to expunge a DUI arrest record, however. Note, though, this option is only available to you if a judge or jury acquitted you, a judge dismissed the case or prosecutors opted never to file charges. 

Waiting period 

There are many reasons to try to expunge an arrest record. For example, you may work in an industry that performs in-depth background checks. Arrest records often appear on these inquiries. Nevertheless, before you can request an expunction of your DUI arrest, you must go through a waiting period. For DUIs, the period is a decade. 

Good behavior 

If you want to pursue an expunction for a DUI arrest record, you must have not faced other criminal charges in the 10 years preceding your request. Therefore, if you have even minor criminal issues in your past, making your DUI arrest disappear may be an uphill battle. 

Living with a DUI record can be tough. Still, Colorado law does not make it easy to expunge DUI matters. In fact, it is downright impossible in many cases. As such, rather than pleading guilty to try to make your criminal case go away quickly, you may want to defend yourself aggressively to avoid a criminal record that lasts a lifetime.

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