How Long Does a DUI Stay on My Record?
A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction is a criminal case that will stay on your record permanently. Even if you are found not guilty or the charges are dismissed, the arrest may follow you. A DUI can stay on your driving record forever in some states, like Alaska. Most people believe that it is cleared after ten years but this is not always true. State laws will determine this.
If you have a DUI on your record, it may have very damaging effects to your future. One DUI can prevent you from getting a job that requires a background check. More employers are using them every year to help separate qualified candidates.
Is there any way to remove a DUI from my record?
If you are convicted of a DUI, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged, but you cannot have the charges removed from your driving record. Expunging your record is a civil court case and you will have to go before a judge.
If the judge grants you an expungement, your record will be cleared of any prior charges and convictions. This means your DUI will not show up on any future public searches or background checks. Sometimes though, it may show an arrest and state the record was expunged. This means people will know you were arrested, but not the outcome.
Expungement is not the same as a sealed record and is still visible to certain people. Law enforcement and judges will still be able to access your record if needed. If you are arrested again, previous convictions will be considered during your prosecution and sentencing.
Some states also allow expunged records to be visible when you apply for a job in the field of education. This is designed to protect the state whenever children may be involved because all kinds of crimes can be expunged not just DUIs.
How do I expunge my DUI?
You will need to petition the court to start the expungement process. If you hired a lawyer for your DUI trial, they may be able to help you. They can handle the paperwork and hearing for you; otherwise, you can hire a new lawyer or file on your own. If you decide to file for yourself make sure you research all state laws. Each state will have unique statues as to what can be expunged and how you need to file. Most libraries will have a section with their states law books.
After you have filed and been granted an expungement, you will still need to check your criminal report. Sometimes information is not fully deleted and may still be visible. It will be your responsibility to make sure any mistakes get corrected not the courts.
How does a DUI on my driving record affect me?
In most states, a DUI will stay on your record permanently, but the timeline of its effects may not. A DUI can have several negative impacts on you though. Some will be evident immediately, while others may hurt you later.
First off is car insurance. If you are already insured, you can expect your premiums to more than double on your next renewal period. Some car insurance companies will even opt not to renew your policy. If you do not have insurance or your company drops you, getting a new policy may be very difficult. While there are companies who do write policies for people with DUIs, they are often very expensive to maintain.
A DUI can affect your car insurance rates for three to five years. Most companies only look at the last three years of your driving record, but some go back five. If you maintain a clean record for that long after your DUI, you can expect to see your rates drop.
Sometimes you may have to change companies or contact your provider. This is because most companies do not audit your records for discounts after you sign up for a policy. They will only look for new charges.
If you receive another DUI, insurance companies and courts will look at any previous DUIs in the past ten years. It takes ten years for a DUI to no longer be considered a first offense. This means that if they pull your three-year driving record and find a DUI, they can then pull ten years of your record.
Car insurance companies will assess higher rates if you are a repeat offender. Many companies will not write a policy if you have more than one. People who drive under the influence are statistically more likely to be in a serious accident with high amounts of damages or injuries qualifying you as nothing less than a very high risk driver.
If you ever apply for a job that requires a clean driving record, that DUI will always be there. This means that even 20 years later, you may not be able to get a job if it involves the operation of a motor vehicle. No matter what else you do, that DUI will always be there.