Those who have been pulled over and charged with a DUI have more to worry about than the initial problem of being arrested. A DUI or DWI will become a part of their driving records, providing problems in almost every area of life. The consequences of the DUI charge can follow them for years and, in some states, may even stay with them for the rest of their lives. They may have problems getting a new job, holding a driver’s license, getting and paying for car insurance. However, with an expert attorney, individuals can work to get the record of a DUI removed.
What Is a Driving Record?
A driving record is maintained by the state in which one lives and remains in that state even if the individual moves out-of-state. The record is maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles depending on the state and contains information about problems the individual has experienced with driving. The record will contain basic information for all drivers, including those who have never been pulled over for a traffic violation, such as name, address, license number and license endorsements. However, it will also include a record of any violations, such as tickets or citations for speeding as well as records of collisions. Finally, the driving record will include any fines, suspensions of a driver’s license and DUI or DWI convictions.
How Long Does A DUI Stay On Your Record?
The answer to How Long Does A DUI Stay On Your Record depends on the state in which one was convicted. All states have a minimum of five years as the amount of time to keep a record of a DUI. However, some states have even longer times, ranging from 10 to 75 years or even a lifetime. The amount of time a DUI stays On Your Record also depends on whether or not this is a first-time conviction.
How Can Someone Check a Driving Record?
Law enforcement officials have easy access to driving records. In fact, when individuals are stopped, law enforcement quickly checks the driving records to see how many citations, tickets or violations the person has had. However, individuals are also allowed to see their own records. They may want to find out what the license number or expiration date for the license is. They may also wish to see what violations are on their records or whether their record could affect their chances of employment. Typically, the easiest way to check a driving record is to request one from the state’s DMV or BMV. This often requires a small fee, which is typically less than $15. The record can be requested online or by mail. Some third-party companies also offer to look up driving records for individuals for a small fee.
What Are Some Different State Laws?
Every state has a different set of laws that affects how long a DUI Stays On Your Record. The driving record has different laws that affect it when compared to the criminal record if the individual is charged with a felony. While most criminal records will forever contain the DUI, the charge may be allowed to fall from the driving record in time. Here are the laws for how long there will be a driving record for a DUI for some of the most populous states in the U.S. Other state laws can be found through the state’s DMV or BMV.
Arizona: 5 years
California: 10 years
Georgia: 10 years
Illinois: 20 years
Massachusetts: 10 years
Michigan: 7 years
New York: 10 years
Virginia: 11 years
Wisconsin: 10 years
What Will Happen with a Repeat DUI?
Those who have already been convicted of a DUI will find that they face harsher consequences if they are convicted of a second or third DUI. They will often find themselves facing higher fines as well as more time in jail and may have difficulty getting their driver’s licenses back. Even in states that allow DUI to fall from the driving record, individuals may find that after a second conviction, the DUI will stay forever on the driving record. Depending on the state, other punishments may also come into play at this point, such as vehicle impoundment, installation of vehicle ignition interlock devices, alcohol rehab, community service and probation.
What Is a Licensing Hearing?
In most states, individuals who are charged with a DUI will have their licenses suspended before the case ever goes to court for a conviction. In states that do that, individuals will attend an administrative licensing hearing prior to and separate from the conviction hearing. The licensing hearing does not determine whether the individual has committed a crime but instead determines whether the license should be revoked. Depending on the circumstances, individuals may be able to apply for a hardship or occupational license that will allow them to drive at certain times or for certain reasons.
What Are Some Other Consequences of a DUI?
A DUI conviction affects much more than just the DUI record. It can also affect the person’s finances, car insurance, and employment. It can be costly to pay court fees, legal fees and fees to regain a driver’s license or to get a car out of the impound lot. Some drivers, particularly those convicted of DUI for a second or third time, may also be fined. Car insurance is often canceled, and drivers will have a hard time finding an insurer to cover them in the future. When they do find an insurance agent, they will be hit with much higher rates than they once had. Some individuals are fired from their jobs following DUIs. Those looking for jobs may have difficulty landing them with a DUI on their records, especially one that was recent. While federal law forbids employers from denying employment based solely on a DUI conviction, this law does not apply to jobs requiring the individual to drive, such as bus driving jobs. Additionally, credit bureaus have access to driving records, further affecting one’s credit-worthiness.
What Is Expunction?
In some states, it may be possible to have the DUI record expunged in a courtroom. This means that the DUI is removed from the driving record. It is vital to hire a good lawyer for this process or to find a lawyer who will work pro bono based on financial issues. Without good legal representation, it can be nearly impossible to have a record cleared. During the expunction process, individuals will need to continue following any driving suspensions or probations that they have. If the expunction is approved, credit bureaus, employers, financial institutions and insurance agencies will not be able to see the conviction. However, individuals should keep in mind that information sent to the federal government, such as fingerprints, cannot be removed even if it is removed on the state level. Additionally, not all states offer expunction. For example, in Georgia, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Illinois and several other states, there is no way to remove the conviction from one’s record. However, with the help of an attorney, it can be possible to change or mitigate the conviction to a lesser charge.
Because it can be difficult and confusing to walk through a DUI conviction or expunction, individuals are encouraged to seek the advice and legal counsel of an attorney. The attorney will be able to explain applicable state laws, help with possible expunction and work to reduce the sentence. Of course, because repeat DUI offenses carry much harsher penalties, individuals are strongly encouraged and warned never to drive after drinking.