DWI charges are not something that you want to carry around with you for the rest of your life. Even if the charge or conviction was the result of a one-time mistake, it can still hang in the back of your mind while applying for jobs, for housing, and when you’re driving. It is normal for offenders to wish that the charge could just disappear.
Tony Richardson didn’t just wish that his charges could disappear, though. He took action to make them disappear. Unfortunately for him, his plan backfired, and now he faces multiple felony charges.
Breaking into Government Computers Is Not the Best Way to Make Your Charges Disappear
In 2013, Tony Richardson was found guilty of multiple DWI-related offenses, including driving while impaired, having an open container in the passenger seat, driving with a revoked license, and driving with a license that was revoked for alcohol-related offenses. That is quite a list of charges to be attached to your name.
In February 2015, Richardson recruited the help of former county clerk Teresa Holiday to alter his criminal record. The relationship between the two, how they met, or why Holiday agreed to give Richardson access to government computers, is unclear. What we do know is that the two allegedly went into government computers to change the status of the DWI charge as having been dismissed in court.
State officials later reviewed the charge, saw the alteration, and assumed it was an honest mistake. Once again, Richardson had a DWI conviction on his record. Then, Richardson and holiday allegedly went back into the government computers and attempted to alter the charges again. Other charges on Richardson’s record were allegedly altered on additional visits to government computers.
The two were indicted in late March on the following felony counts: three counts of accessing government computers to defraud, three counts of altering court documents, and one count of obstructing justice.
Richardson was held on $75,000 bail. Holiday was held on $45,000 bail. Richardson is expected to appear in court in May to fight the counts against him.
Convicted of DWI? You May Be Able To Make the Charges Disappear Legally
News reports speculate that Richardson’s motive for altering his past charges stem from his fear of facing harsh penalties as a repeat offender. Richardson has multiple DWI charges, including aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle, and felony hit and run charges.
Truth be told, though, anyone who has been charged or convicted with DWI knows that the reasons for wanting to erase a conviction could really be anything. A criminal record can impede you in many areas of your life.
Richardson’s mistake was in committing another crime to get his others erased. Don’t do that. Instead, learn how you can make the law work for you.
Criminal expungement and or record sealing are available for many crimes in North Carolina. The process is intended to give nonviolent offenders who have served their time and proven to be a law-abiding citizen the chance to have a clean slate once again.
When your record is expunged, it will still be available to judges, prosecutors, and other legal authorities, but expungement provides you the opportunity to hide past mistakes from employers, landlords, educators, and the public-at-large.
Not everyone can get their records expunged. Crimes that are eligible for expunction are typically nonviolent, committed by minors, or charges that resulted in a “not guilty” ruling. The North Carolina Justice Center provides information relating to the following categories of crimes or documents that can be expunged:
- Charges on a Juvenile Record
- Misdemeanor Offense, Committed Under Age 18
- Gang Offenses, Committed Under Age 18
- Controlled Substance Offenses, Committed Under Age 22
- Nonviolent Felonies, Committed Under Age 18
- Nonviolent Offenses
- Prostitution Offenses
- Charges Resulting in Dismissal or “Not Guilty”
- Identity Theft Charges
- DNA Records
- Pardons of Innocence
If you have one of the above charges or documents on your record, you have to go through a legal process to get your record expunged. Even then, there is still a chance that you may be denied if you qualify for expunction. However, if you have only one misdemeanor DWI on your record, you may be able to have the conviction sealed from the general public.
Life with a criminal record is hard. If you are currently facing a DWI charge, or if you would like to make a past charge “disappear,” the road forward is best traveled with a North Carolina DWI attorney by your side. Experienced representation is your best tool for getting your charges dropped or expunged. Contact us today for a free consultation.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.