In March, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 626 which allows for misdemeanor DWI and DUI convictions to be expunged. Arkansas has previously not allowed for expungement of a misdemeanor DWI or DUI offense. The new law will allow for DWI expungement after five (5) years has elapsed since the completion of the DWI sentence.
Additionally, the new law allows for expungement of the following Arkansas criminal misdemeanor convictions after a period of five (5) years has elapsed since the completion of the imposed criminal sentence:
Battery – 3rd Degree;
Public Sexual Indecency;
Sexual Assault – 4th Degree; and
Domestic Battery – 3rd Degree
Although the new law allows for the expungement of Arkansas DWI / DUI offenses, the legislation does not provide for an absolute right to expungement. However, the standard is very high for the Arkansas Traffic Court not to grant an expungement for DWI. The language in the statute requires the Arkansas DWI Judge to grant the expungement unless he or she finds that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the DWI misdemeanor should not be expunged.
The link of the new law can be found here:http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Acts/Act626.pdf
So how does getting a DWI / DUI conviction expunged help you? According to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-90-902, the effect of a DWI expungement is:
(a) An individual whose record has been expunged in accordance with the procedures established by this subchapter shall have all privileges and rights restored and shall be completely exonerated, and the record which has been expunged shall not affect any of his or her civil rights or liberties unless otherwise specifically provided by law.
(b) Upon the entry of the uniform order to seal records of an individual, the individual’s underlying conduct shall be deemed as a matter of law never to have occurred, and the individual may state that no such conduct ever occurred and that no such records exist.
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