Under the laws of the State of Washington, a conviction for a first DUI offense is classified as a gross misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine and fees not to exceed $5,200 along with a 90 day driver’s license suspension. That makes even a first DUI conviction a criminal offense and a conviction of record. Pursuant to RCW 10.97.020, a conviction of record consists of “a criminal history record relating to an incident that led to a conviction or other disposition adverse to the subject.” If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense, that subject is you. Any private person or law enforcement agency can obtain your criminal history information, especially if driving is a condition of your present or future employment. They need only make a written request on the form provided by the Washington State Patrol.
The Criminal Records Privacy Act
RCW 10.97 is the State of Washington Criminal Records Privacy Act. It doesn’t provide a DUI offender much privacy though. Under the statute, any record of a person’s criminal history is permitted to be disclosed to the public without any restrictions at all. The offender’s consent for disclosure isn’t required. The person or entity making the request need only submit the appropriate form by mail, fax or email along with the appropriate fee. The information provided will consist of:
- All convictions
- Any pending criminal cases against the subject
- Any sex offense or kidnapping registration information
If the investigation discloses that the subject has no criminal history, a “no record” result is to be provided.
As opposed to other misdemeanor offenses, the State of Washington doesn’t permit removing or sealing a DUI conviction. No matter how old it might be, a DUI conviction will stay on an individuals criminal record.
Given the State of Washington’s position on expungement, if the evidence against you is overwhelming, a good strategy “could” be to enter a guilty plea to another offense that might be expunged in the future in return for a dismissal of your DUI charge. That highlights the need for a knowledgeable and experienced Spokane DUI attorney from the onset of the prosecution against you. You’ll want the best possible result with the least possible impact on your life. Feel free to contact this office right away after any DUI arrest.