The Law Dictionary

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

Timeline for DUI to come off one’s record

In case people do not realize it, there are two sets of records that are impacted when a person gets a DUI conviction.  One is the person’s criminal record.  The other is the person’s driving record.  The posting of the conviction on a person’s criminal record never goes away. That is “never” as in “never”.  After some fairly long time, depending on the rules in the state where the conviction was judged, the convicted person can file a request to have the conviction expunged.  This is not an easy or simple or quick thing.  It can take years to accomplish, if it is ever accomplished.  It can require the involvement of the state’s governor, depending on the varying rules of the various states.  It can have any other number of required criteria that the person must survive to have the item expunged.  But, even after the expungement, any agency or financial institution that has “hard inquiry” access will find the conviction.  The expungement only hides from “soft inquiries”.   Of course all of the above is assuming that this is a first time conviction, that it was a misdemeanor, that no one was hurt or killed, that little to no damage was done, and that the accused handled his or her self in a proper, respectful, contrite manner in front of the court.  If this is a DUI felony conviction, the penalties and stay-time for the conviction on one’s criminal record increases.  If it is a repeat offense, everything increases.  Hurt, damage, and death also increases everything.  At some point it becomes a very vain situation to even attempt.  But, enough with the criminal record side of this situation.

The other record that a person with a DUI conviction has to handle is the person’s driving record.  Whereas the prior paragraph dealt with the criminal, possibly felony aspect of the case, the driving record is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and this is now a civil matter.  As such, the rules of the DMV govern what goes onto a driving record, how that item impacts a driver’s record and points, and how long that impact remains or in what manner that item’s impact wanes over time.  In the case of a DUI, again the circumstances and particulars of the case and conviction add to or take from the impact.  One point about the DMV and a DUI is that most states have an “implied consent” agreement from the driver when the driver applied for a license in the state.  Implied consent means that the driver agrees to a chemical blood test if stopped for suspicion of driving while impaired.  The penalty for refusing the testing is automatic loss of license and the item being posted on one’s driving record.  This stays unless the stop itself is judged to be unwarranted.  Experts and experienced people alike state that it is very difficult to get an item removed from the driving record.  In some states the DUI conviction stays “forever”.  It is state law.  Of course, as stated many times before each state has its own rules.  Best thing to do for one’s self if arrested?  Hire a very good lawyer.



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