Expungement or Sealing of DWI or DUI Conviction

Q.  Can I expunge (or seal) the record of my Arkansas DWI or DUI conviction?  If so, when?

A.  YES, it MAY be possible. The answer for many years was a definite "NO" for any misdemeanor DWI (felony DWI's (4th offense or higher) were already eligible for expungement).  However, that changed with the codification of Ark. Code Ann. 16-90-1401, et seq. You may now petition the court of your conviction to seal your Arkansas DWI (felony or misdemeanor). The judge may not deny your petition to seal unless there is "clear and convincing evidence" that the sealing (or expungement) should not be granted.

Under Ark. Code Ann. 16-90-1415, the factors that the judge can consider are:

  • Whether the person appears likely to reoffend;
  • The person's other criminal history;
  • The existence of any pending charges or criminal investigations involving the person;
  • Input from the victim of the offense for which the person was convicted, if applicable; and
  • Any other information provided by the state that would cause a reasonable person to consider the person a further threat to society.

Keep in mind that you must wait until "the applicable lookback period" has elapsed for your DWI before you can petition to expunge and seal your Arkansas DWI conviction.  In 2021, a poorly-drafted and ill-conceived amendment was enacted and is often interpreted as requiring a person to wait TEN (10) years from conviction date for a DWI.  The waiting period prior to 2021 was five (5) years.

Underage DUI's have always been expungeable or sealable.  A petiton to seal an Underage DUI can be filed immediately after the completion of your sentence for the DUI.