The short response is no. Washington State law prohibits the expunge of DUI convictions. The erasure of convictions for DUI and physical control is expressly forbidden by RCW 9.96.060. In Washington, avoiding a DUI conviction altogether is the only way to erase it from your record. You could be eligible to have a conviction for the lower charge wiped, though, if your DUI charge was downgraded as part of a plea bargain. This is why it is crucial to hire a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest in order to fight a DUI accusation.
By working out a deal with the prosecutor whereby you submit a guilty plea in exchange for a lower punishment, an effective DUI defense lawyer may be able to save you from being charged with DUI. In other situations, if correct police protocol was not followed during the stop and/or arrest or if the evidence was handled improperly, your counsel may be able to have the charges dropped.
There are several reasons why DUI expungement is not possible in Washington State. The first one is that the guilty driver may repeat the offense and having a DUI remain on their record is an effective way of diminishing the possibility of them repeating the same mistake and incurring a second driving charge.
Repeat driving offenses lead to severe consequences for drivers so it’s paramount to treat DUI charges with care and not incur another charge. Because of the possibility of a repeat offense, a DUI will stay on a person’s record for seven years in Washington state.
Another reason that drivers are unable to have DUI charges expunged from their records is that most judges want drivers to feel the full sting of guilt for their negligent driving practices.
Judges are especially hesitant about removing DUIs from a driver’s criminal record because they want drivers to take the conviction seriously and refrain from future offenses.
In Washington, expungement—the total physical erasure of the court file and every trace of the database—is rather uncommon. Additionally, neither the expungement nor the vacating of the conviction erases the Internet listings that have gathered since the conviction on the numerous online criminal background checks that people purchase on each other for $39.99, etc.
If you don’t think so, read RCW 9.96.060 of the Revised Code of Washington, which states unequivocally that DUI convictions in Washington State cannot be overturned, expunged, or otherwise deleted from a person’s criminal record.