This is a common question for people who either have a DUI on their record or are facing one. The answer depends on how the case is disposed.
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If you are convicted of DUI in Tennessee, you cannot get it off your record, period. This is mandated under state law. That means it’s on there for life. There is no exception cases more than five or ten years old, or for people who were underage adults at the time. If your DUI was reduced to a charge like reckless driving, you cannot get that expunged either.
Tennessee law states that you can’t get an expungement “if the person is charged with an offense, is not convicted of the charged offense, but is convicted of an offense relating to the same criminal conduct or episode as the charged offense, including a lesser included offense.”
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Reckless driving is not a lesser included offense of DUI–it is a separate offense and most people charged with DUI are also charged with reckless, although we always say “reduced to reckless.”
So again, if your drunk driving charge is dismissed and you plead guilty to reckless driving, you can’t get the dismissed DUI off your record. It is not a conviction but it may show up as a charge.
Likewise you wouldn’t be able to get the reckless driving off your record, unless you were placed on diversion for it because diversion is not a conviction. At the end of your diversion period you could have everything–the DUI and the reckless–taken off your record.
The only way to get a DUI in Tennessee off your record is to either have all charges dropped (difficult, because the state usually at least gets the reckless conviction) or go to trial and be found not guilty (also difficult because a jury might acquit on the DUI but convict on reckless driving).
I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over this though because beating a DUI or having it dropped is enough of a victory. The most important thing is that it’s not a conviction. You may not be able to get the “charge” off your record, but because it is just a charge and not a conviction it may not show up, or may not matter to those looking at your background.
For help with your drunk driving case, contact Memphis DUI lawyer Patrick Stegall. Stegall Law would be very interested in hearing about your case and helping you find the best options for dealing with it.