Everyone makes mistakes at one time or another and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a common one. In North Carolina, an arrest or conviction for intoxicated driving could stay on your record permanently. A DWI can have a long-term effect on your life by hindering your driving privileges, lowering your employment eligibility or costing you more in auto insurance.

Recently proposed changes to the law might make it easier for some to expunge their DWI records. North Carolina Senate Bill 562, also known as “The Second Chance Act,” proposes a reduction in the waiting period for expunging felony or misdemeanor charges that were dismissed or returned verdicts of not guilty from 15 years to 10. These charges would include DWI arrests before Dec. 1, 1999, that did not lead to convictions.

However, the other expunction leniencies outlined in SB562 specifically exclude “any violation of the motor vehicle laws under Chapter 20 of the General Statutes”, which include offenses for impaired driving. Juvenile offenders convicted for DWI before the age of 18 are not eligible to have the records expunged. Additionally, the proposal to automatically streamline expunction proceedings for charges not resulting in convictions does not include arrests for impaired driving.

While all convictions and certain charges for DWI remain ineligible, if you have a qualifying arrest you wish the court to expunge, you will need to file a petition to begin the process. If your petition is a success, the state will remove all the related records from public access, and you cannot be charged with perjury or making a false statement if you fail to acknowledge the arrest. More information about the expungement procedure is available on our webpage.