DC DUI Arrest Records

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in DC and are worried about someone finding out,  the following is what you need to know regarding who can access your records and what you have to do to have them sealed.

For more specific information regarding your case or to begin the process of sealing your record, call and schedule a consultation with a DC DUI lawyer today.

Public Availability of Arrest Records

Arrest records are publicly available documents when a person specifically requests those documents, however with that said, arrest records are not readily publicly available on any District of Columbia website and they are typically not available through the standard search engines searches such as Google.

If someone arrested in Washington D.C. for a crime that is not of great public interest, a person cannot simply go to Google, type someone’s name and pull up all of their arrest records. If a person wanted those arrests records, that person must go to the Metropolitan Police Department and make a specific request for records of the arrest.

By requesting these records from the police department, anyone who asks for them could obtain them.

Are Mug Shots Available to the Public?

Mug shots are part of an arrest record and like any other arrest records; they are available to members of the public who request them. There are many jurisdictions that publicly place mug shots on a police website or sometimes post them on Facebook or other websites.

However, mug shots are not searchable in that way for District of Columbia arrests.

The DC laws limit the extent to which Metropolitan Police Department can publicize information such as mug shots when there is no public need to do so. In the event that a person has been arrested for a high profile case that is of public interest such as a high profile murder or a person who is wanted by the police and cannot be found, mug shots may be publicized.

Short of those high profile situations, mostly the mug shot is not going to be readily available through internet searches or other means that don’t involve going to the police and asking them specifically for the mug shot.

Sealing Arrest Records

When someone was arrested on allegations of committing a crime and wants to have the arrest records sealed, they may face a waiting period before they can file the request with a judge. If they are seeking to have arrest records sealed for a case they were not convicted of, the waiting period is two or four years depending on the type of case.

Some kinds of arrest records such as domestic violence or fraud arrests have a longer wait period. Other kinds of arrests such as disorderly conduct or shoplifting have a two year wait period.

If a person is convicted of a crime for which they were convicted, there is an eight-year wait period before they can request to have the arrest records sealed. There are, however, some convictions that cannot be sealed. It is important to talk to a lawyer who can evaluate the person’s specific situations and advise them on whether their case can or cannot be expunged.

There is another kind of records sealing request where there is no wait for any period of time before requesting for records sealing. In the event that a person can prove they are actually innocent of the crime for which they were arrested, they do not have to wait to request a sealing of their records.

If someone is convicted of a crime or if they plead guilty to the crime, they cannot request to have their records sealed on the grounds that they were actually arrested.

However, if they can provide the evidence to prove their innocence for the case they were arrested for, upon the dismissal of their charge, ask for that case to be sealed with that evidence.

If You Are Acquitted

When someone is acquitted on a charge, they do not have a criminal record.

That means that they were not convicted of a crime but their arrest record is still considered public. That arrest record would say the person was arrested on the charge of Driving Under the Influence but their charges were dismissed or they were acquitted at trial. Either way, the person was not convicted. In the event that the person was acquitted on their DUI or their charges were dismissed, they have the ability to request that their arrest record be sealed.

There are two different ways to do that.

One option is to wait for four years from the date their case was dismissed. The person can then make an argument that there is no judicial interest in making their arrest record open to the public. To establish that there is no judicial interest in making their arrest records available to the public, the person can discuss their limited criminal history aside from their DUI case.

The person can also talk about their job situation, their family life, and any alcohol treatments or recovery programs they enrolled in. They do not have to discuss the actual facts of their case if they wait the four year period of time for requesting the Interest of Justice record sealing.

The second way for someone to have their DUI arrest record sealed is by being able to that they were actually innocent of the DUI. This could include witness statements stating that the person was not actually the one operating the vehicle.

They can provide toxicology results showing that they hadn’t consumed any alcohol or didn’t have any drugs in their system. If they are able to provide that proof, they do not have to wait the four year period of time to request that their records be sealed. They can request that their records be sealed immediately after the charges have been dismissed.