No matter the specifics of the charge, there are harsh, immediate penalties for individuals convicted of a DUI in California. Not only do you have the immediate effects of a DUI conviction, but you will carry the charge on your record for many years to come. The DUI conviction can affect your ability to get a job, affordable insurance, or an apartment. It will also affect how you are treated in future DUI cases, opening you up to even more severe penalties in later convictions.
If left unhandled, a DUI conviction is on your criminal record permanently and on your driving record for 10 years. If you have a DUI conviction on your record and you’re looking to reduce its continuing impact on your life, call (310) 862-0199. We will connect you with a leading DUI lawyer who can help you determine if you’re eligible to have the charge expunged from your record sooner than you expect.
DUIs on Your Driving Record
The DMV keeps a record of your DUI offenses for 10 years. Rather than being counted from the date of your conviction, the DMV tracks your DUI history starting from the date of the arrest. This 10-year time frame is set in stone and cannot be adjusted.
Fortunately, the impact of a DUI on your driving record is fairly limited. Your driving record is used primarily by the DMV to make decisions regarding the status of your license, such as for suspensions or revocations. It can also be used by insurance companies to determine rates, which is likely to be the most direct way a DUI on your driving record will impact your life.
DUIs on Your Criminal Record
A DUI in California is not a simple traffic violation. Instead, a DUI conviction is treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony criminal conviction. As such, it enters your criminal record permanently. This is what employers, colleges, and even landlords will see when doing a background check on you.
DUIs are also “priorable” offenses. A “priorable” offense in California is any offense in which previous convictions for the same crime will result in harsher penalties. A second DUI will have harsher penalties than a first DUI, and a third DUI conviction will have an even harsher penalty.
Generally, the timeframe for a triggering a harsher penalty from a previous DUI is 10 years from the date of conviction for the offense. Even if it is still on your record, a DUI outside of the 10-year timeframe will not usually count against you for the increased penalty for repeat offenses. The biggest exception to this rule is a prior felony DUI conviction, which can make any subsequent DUI a felony charge, even if it would otherwise be charged as a misdemeanor.
Expunging Your Criminal Record is Possible
A DUI conviction left uncontested will remain on your criminal record permanently, but it doesn’t have to be left unchallenged. If you meet certain criteria, you may petition to have the charge expunged from your criminal record. The criteria include:
- Paying any fines associated with the conviction
- Completing probation
- Remaining free from any criminal convictions, not just other DUIs
An expungement will remove the DUI conviction from background checks of your criminal record. This means that your employers, colleges, and landlords will not see the conviction on your record. In some cases, it can be reported as expunged. If it is reported as expunged and you are discriminated against because of the expunged conviction, you may be able to take legal action to remedy the situation.
Expunging Isn’t Automatic
While you must meet certain criteria, expunging your record isn’t given automatically. When you seek to have your record expunged, you must petition the court. The judge has the discretion to grant the expungement and the prosecutor may challenge the petition. A DUI lawyer can help you file your petition and can represent you for any hearings that may be ordered for the expungement.
Don’t Let a DUI Stay on Your Record
Given the ability of a DUI conviction to stop you from getting a job, an apartment, or even admission to college, there are clear benefits to expunging your criminal records. When you’re ready to see if you qualify for expungement, call (310) 862-0199 for your free consultation with a leading DUI attorney.