Too often, Pennsylvanians simply accept their “fate” if they were arrested for a DUI. Not seeing a way out, they plead guilty in hopes of a lighter sentence. Or, they were represented by a shoddy attorney who had no business representing any defendant in court. Regardless of how it happened, that DUI conviction is now on your record. It can stay with you for a lifetime — unless you take action.
Though it is difficult, there are ways to get your DUI expunged from your record in Pennsylvania. If you qualify for expungement, you may be wondering if it’s worth the hassle. The answer is: definitely, and unequivocally, yes! The process of expungement can be lengthy and tedious, but it is well worth it. Here are just three reasons why you should get a DUI expunged from your record:
1. Your Money Matters
After you got your license back, chances are you had to fill out an SR-22 in order to get insurance. This requires you to carry high-risk insurance for a certain period of time, as stated by the judge. This insurance is way more expensive than normal insurance — if you can even get it — and may prevent you from getting insurance and driving at all.
A DUI conviction may also make it more difficult for you to secure any kind of loan, at least one with a decent APR. That conviction shows up on public record for seven years, which can have a negative impact on your credit score. Though getting a DUI expunged won’t repay the money you’ve already spent on court fees and such, it can make it easier to lead a financially successful life moving forward.
2. Make Your Life Easier
There are so many facets of life that are impacted by a DUI conviction. For instance, you may find it difficult to find good housing, as private landlords are within their rights to refuse to rent to you if you have a criminal record. You may have to settle for low-income housing or simply buy a house outright — which will be difficult, since, as stated before, it may be difficult to get a bank loan.
Employment may also be an issue. Employers also have the right to not hire you based on your criminal record. For students, getting into a good school or maintaining your enrollment after a DUI can be a major challenge. Even if you are able to stay in school, all aid and other funding you receive may be pulled.
3. Other Challenges of a DUI
Much of Pennsylvania is good hunting ground, but you may not be able to partake, since a DUI conviction can prevent you from owning a gun. You may also find it more difficult to get food stamps and other federal aid. While Pennsylvania does not have a ban on food stamps and welfare for convicted criminals, other states do, which can make moving hard. It may also be difficult to get approved for federal housing.
A challenge that isn’t often considered, but is very important, is adoption. If you apply to adopt a child, your rights may be challenged if you have a DUI on your record. The courts may argue that you are not fit to be a parent, since you have been convicted of driving drunk.
These are just some of the reasons it is vital to get a DUI off your record as soon as possible. Have questions about DUI expungement in Pennsylvania, or want to get the process started? Contact Steven E. Kellis today for a free, no-obligation consultation.