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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > DUI > Formal and Informal Expungement in DUI Cases

Formal and Informal Expungement in DUI Cases


Future auto insurance rate increases make up most of the estimated $20,000 cost of a first-time DUI conviction. These individuals must purchase SR-22 high-risk insurance and maintain it for at least three years. These policies are about 70 percent higher than normal policies. When the mandatory SR-22 period expires, cheaper insurance may be unavailable, particularly if the policyholder had any traffic tickets or other issues in the three preceding years.

Several procedural and substantive defenses are available in DUI cases. But these defenses aren’t always strong enough to beat the charges in court. In these situations, a Leesburg DUI expungement lawyer goes into damage control mode. Several options are available, especially if the defendant has a marginal defense, like a questionable police traffic stop. In these situations, most prosecutors would rather make a favorable deal than risk a trial.

Charge Reduction

Usually depending on who’s in charge at the top, some jurisdictions have no-dismissal DUI policies. Prosecutors never dismiss these cases before trial or reduce the charges to a lesser-included offense.

But these policies are few and far between. Most higher-ups are smart enough to know that something is better than nothing. From their perspective, a plea to a lesser-included offense is better than a not-guilty verdict at trial or a complete dismissal of charges.

Reckless driving is the most common DUI charge reduction. Reckless driving is a serious misdemeanor in Virginia that includes some serious collateral consequences, like points on a drivers’ license. But these secondary effects aren’t nearly as bad as collateral DUI consequences.

Deferred Disposition

Once again, some prosecutors in some jurisdictions never offer deferred disposition in DUI cases. But most do so, to entice the defendant to plead guilty if the case is weak.

Deferred disposition, unlike regular probation, doesn’t stain the defendant’s permanent record with a criminal conviction. Other than that, deferred probation and regular probation are identical. The both feature long-term court supervision as well as conditions like:

  • Reporting in person to a supervision officer,
  • Working and/or attending school full time,
  • Completing an alcohol evaluation,
  • Attending a DUI victim impact panel meeting,
  • Performing community service,
  • Paying a fine, and
  • Installing an IID.

An Ignition Interlock Device is a small, portable Breathalyzer that’s wired to a vehicle’s ignition. Before the driver starts the car, the driver must provide a chemical sample. If that sample is above a certain level, usually .04, the vehicle won’t start.

If prosecutors don’t offer deferred disposition, an open plea might be an option. Defendants plead guilty and almost literally throw themselves on the mercy of the court. The judge could sentence the defendant to the maximum, the minimum, or anything in between.

Judicial Expunction

Official expunction is available in a few cases. To qualify, the judge must dismiss your case or find you not guilty. A not guilty finding is different from an N-Fog (no finding of guilt) deferred disposition plea. In the latter instance, the defendant admitted guilt on the record.

Official expunction might also be an option if prosecutors nolle prosequi’d the case. Usually, an NP dismissal means prosecutors believed they didn’t have enough evidence to go forward or they made a serious mistake, like charging the wrong person.

Work With a Diligent Loudoun County Lawyer

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction in criminal law. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Leesburg, contact Simms Showers, LLP, Attorneys at Law. Virtual, home, and after-hours visits are available.



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