The Law Dictionary

Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

Questioning If a Dismissed DUI Case Will Appear on the Accused’s Record

This question, as stated, takes three paths.  One path is the person’s driving record. The second and third are based on the whether or not that a dismissal was a DUI charge that was dismissed without prejudice, which this situation appears to be, based on the wording in the question, or if the DUI was a conviction that has since been dismissed, or expunged being the legal term.  Each state has its own varying statutes around DUI, convicting criteria, stopping and arrest procedure and criteria, what makes a felony, how long information on what stays where for how long and then what.  One of these varying criteria is what from a DUI stop, from any subsequent arrest, and from any subsequent dismissal or conviction, will make up an item and how long this item information will exist on the person’s driving record.  This is a record that many, really most people forget exists.  A DUI item gets onto a driver’s record by one or more of several routes.  Initially, if a person is stopped for cause, and refuses to take some required chemical testing for alcohol, this refusal itself causes a DUI item on the person’s driving record.  This is often due to the “implied consent” that many states have and more states are doing.  “Implied consent” means that when the person applied for a license, the applicant agreed to take some form of chemical testing or face loss of license and an item on one’s driving record.  Bing!  The impact of this action is that it is with the DMV, not the criminal courts, so whatever happens to one’s DUI case will likely not impact this DMV action.  Unless the defense can have the case dismissed due to a lack of reasonable cause to stop the accused in the first place, the DMV item will exist for a state mandated number of years.  If a conviction occurs, and the conviction based penalties warrant additional information and or additional impact on the person’s license, the state mandates how long this information and or impact exists.  In some states this information exists on a person’s driving record “forever”.  This is a harsh reality.  Now, we move to the criminal record.  This situation is often worse than the driver’s record as it exists forever, even if expunged.  This dismissal is not an easy one to typically achieve.  Then, even after expunging, the record is still available, legally, to the “hard inquiry” access than some federal agencies and most financial institutions have.  The reason for this is terrorism and the Patriot Act.  It is federally mandated that banks and such do due diligence to determine if the account applicant might be a terrorist or support terrorists by association.   Legally, a person who had a conviction expunged, can state on an application that he or she has no conviction.  When asked about the discrepancy, the argument is that the conviction is not public knowledge anymore and must be treated with up-most confidentiality.  It can and will be an embarrassing conversation for the applicant.


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