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How Long Does a DUI Stay on my Record in CA?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jun 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

Much like the majority of states in the nation, driving under the influence (“DUI”) of drugs and/or alcohol is a serious crime in California. One of the major concerns for motorists facing a DUI conviction is how this incident will affect their life, and most importantly, for how long.

If convicted, the incident will go on two types of records: your driving record and your criminal record. A DUI - whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony - will stay on your driving record for 10 years, and it will stay on your criminal record permanently. Each record serves various purposes when it comes to the effects of a DUI on your life. In the right circumstances, you can take action to minimize or completely rid your life of the damaging impact of a DUI by getting the incident expunged.

Your Driving Record

A DUI will stay on your driving record for a total of 10 years. The ten-year period begins the day you were arrested, rather than the date of conviction. It is generally referenced when the DMV makes certain decisions about your driver's license, like a license suspension, revocation, or a reinstatement. There is currently no way to get a DUI off a driving record before its expiration date.

Motorists tend to be less concerned with the removal of a DUI from a driving record because of its limited accessibility. A driving record is almost exclusively accessed by law enforcement, your insurance company, and the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This record is not included in a background check, which means that it cannot be seen by potential employers, schools, or other criminal investigators.

Your Criminal Record

A DUI stays on a person's criminal record permanently. In California, this is not just considered a traffic violation, but a criminal offense - which is usually charged as a misdemeanor, but can be charged as a felony depending on the circumstances. Unlike a driving record, a criminal record is widely accessed. Motorists will be required to disclose their criminal history when they apply for jobs, pursue a professional license, or even get admitted into a college or university.

Expunging a DUI in CA

Under specific circumstances, you can have a DUI expunged and cleared from your criminal record with the help of an attorney. You will be eligible to expunge a DUI if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You have already served all penalties (including probation)
  • Your sentence doesn't involve imprisonment
  • You aren't currently facing any other criminal charges

If you qualify for an expungement, an attorney can help you petition to the court to expunge the conviction from your record. A successful expungement guarantees that a DUI will no longer be detectable by employers, and you won't be required to disclose it.

An arrest and conviction of a DUI on your driving and criminal record will haunt you. But if you take the right steps, you can put this incident behind you. A careful approach to your situation can make all the difference in your case. If you have more questions about your DUI, need representation, or want to maximize the chances of being granted an expungement, we invite you to immediately contact the Shouse Law Group today. You can find us online or give us a call at 855-396-0370.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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