Can I Expunge My Record of a Wet Reckless Charge While on Informal Probation?

Due to staffing constraints, many state courts are sentencing individuals convicted of misdemeanors to informal probation. Unlike "supervised probation," informal probation does not require its wards to report directly to a probation officer. If you're currently serving out an informal probation term, you may still be subject to monitoring and will need to meet several requirements before your case can be discharged. However, you may enjoy some privileges that aren't available to folks on supervised probation.

Likewise, many courts now opt to lessen the severity of some DUI misdemeanors by converting them into "wet reckless" charges. While reckless driving is still a misdemeanor that carries hefty fines and may require convicts to endure a period of restricted driving privileges, it doesn't carry the same stigma as a full-blown DUI.

If you've been convicted of a wet reckless charge in lieu of a standard DUI, you've dodged a legal bullet. However, you're likely to be held to a very high standard of behavior for the duration of your informal probation. You'll be expected to pay your fines in full, attend all scheduled meetings with the lawyers involved in your case, and be on time for all court-ordered appearances. You'll also be expected to avoid running afoul of the law in any way. Otherwise, you may be sent back to prison.

Even if you complete the requirements of your probation to the letter and stay out of further trouble, you may have difficulty getting a government job or signing certain contracts while you're under informal supervision. Worse, a record of your probation will show up on any employer-conducted background checks for years after your conviction.

After your probation has ended, you may be able to expunge your conviction. Although it won't wipe away all traces of your wet reckless charge, expunging your record makes it significantly more difficult for law enforcement personnel to see your prior conviction. While an in-depth background check will always reveal expunged convictions, many low-security employers don't bother to spend the money on such measures.

If you wish to expunge your record before your probation has ended, you must enter a formal request for the early termination of your probation in court. Since these early termination requests are often denied, you should speak with a lawyer to determine how best to frame your case. Only after your probation has been terminated may you proceed to expunge your record.

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