You can, in some cases, have a DUI expunged. People often think that this means it's taken off of your record, as if it never happened. That's not always precisely true. It's just sealed, but law enforcement can still see it. For example, if police want proof that you had a prior conviction, they may still be able to use the record of that DUI.
So, why would you want to have it expunged? If it's still on your record in the eyes of the police, what purpose does it serve?
Often, the goal is to block the record from the public. When someone not connected to the law enforcement runs a background check, they likely won't be able to see it. This could include an educational institution, a credit card company, or a potential employer.
You can see how this is still useful. Trying to get a job with a criminal record can be hard, for instance. Employers may run background checks and go with less qualified candidates, just because they have no records. This can be one of the biggest challenges to those who are just trying to get a fresh start and find a new job, trapping them in a cycle of unemployment.
Having the DUI expunged could then make it easier to get a job -- or to get into college or take out a loan -- so that you can move forward with your life.
Not all records can be expunged, but it's important to know that this is possible in some cases. As you consider your future, be sure you know every legal option available to you.
Source: FindLaw, "DUI Expungement," accessed Feb. 10, 2017