When you get a DUI (driving under the influence charge), you have to be sure this will leave a mark on your driving record. However, every state has different rules for getting the DUI and its expungement from your records. If you know the exact procedure and details, it will make your understanding much more straightforward.
What Is a DUI?
A DUI is a charge of driving under the influence. This means your blood alcohol content was beyond the legal limit. Blood alcohol content refers to how much alcohol is in your blood — something determined by how much you have consumed. However, you should remember that a DUI can also occur for drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Even if your BAC isn’t above the legal limit (typically .08%), there are still chances that you can get a DUI.
DUI Statistics in Each State
If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties and the exact criminal charges will vary by state. This is because there are different DUI laws in each state. States with higher statistics of car accidents that occur because of alcohol have stricter penalties which are being enforced and constantly amended to reduce the high statistics. Even those with low statistics are working with other states to create penalties and programs that will deter drinking and driving.
Judging by the DUI statistics in each state, you might face misdemeanor offenses for the first and second DUI offenses but a felony for the third. Some states will allow plea bargains, others will allow hardship licenses. You might face a penalty which is nothing more than DUI courses, fines, and probation. In other states, you might be sentenced to mandatory jail time, courses, fines, and probation.
If you are pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint, it is likely to be in a populated area where there have been statistically many accidents or alcohol-related events. Look for the examples of how many traffic fatalities are connected to the alcohol use:
- In Kentucky – 27%;
- In the state of Washington – 43 %;
- In Arkansas – 34%;
- In Colorado – 37%;
- In the state of Oregon – 38%;
- In Kansas state – 41%;
- In Massachusetts – 42%;
- In the state of West Virginia – 37%. The same is true for Nevada.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?
This varies by state. For example:
- In California, it can stay on the record for ten years, then “falls off”;
- In Texas, it stays on your record permanently unless you get it expunged;
- In New York, you will see it on your record for 15 years.
When does a DUI fall off your driving record?
Again, this is based on your state. Based on the examples above, you will notice that in some states it never As you can see on the examples, that in some states it never “falls off,” whereas in others, it falls off after about 10 years.
DUI Expungement — How to get it
If there is a DUI conviction on your driving record, in addition to the DUI penalties, such as a license suspension and increased car insurance, you also have the criminal conviction as part of your history. When you try to get a new car insurance policy, the rates will be higher because of your criminal record. In fact, your insurance provider might choose not to provide you with insurance, in which case you have to get a special, much more expensive policy. So, it stands to reason that if you live in a state where driving under the influence charges don’t automatically fall off after a certain length of time, you should immediately pursue expungement.
However, getting a DUI expunged requires different actions and timelines, depending on whether it was a felony or a misdemeanor. Expungement for misdemeanors is handled by different departments depending on the state. If you are charged with a misdemeanor for the first time, you can petition to have it expunged.
The process might vary by state, but typically you can only file this petition once your misdemeanor is five years old and all sentencing requirements and probation have been completed. If all requirements are met, DUI cases can be deleted in each state. The process of expungement limits which records may be viewed by the public. It allows individuals to apply for jobs without having to report a criminal record.
What Are State Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?
A felony is a more severe charge than a misdemeanor. Some crimes can be considered both a misdemeanor and a felony, depending on the severity. If you are convicted of a felony, you are subject to a fee, the volume of which varies in each of the states. The severity of the sentence depends upon the severity of the charge.
A third DUI conviction, in most cases, is considered a felony. Felonies are very serious crimes and naturally will trigger constitutional rights. Should you be convicted of a felony offense, you risk losing some of your rights, for instance, the right to carry a gun. You can also lose the right to vote or join the military.
In each of the states, a misdemeanor includes driving under the influence. This can result in a revocation of your license. There are also sentencing options such as fines, jail time, and community service. If you get a third offense in a ten-year period, it might increase the severity of the crime to a felony.
DUI Laws: State by State
|State||Length of time on record||Is Expungement possible?|
|Alabama||5 years||Yes for juveniles|
|Arkansas||5 years||Yes, for first-time offenders|
|Colorado||10 years||Yes for juveniles|
|Connecticut||10 years||Yes, 3 years after your conviction|
|Indiana||Forever||Yes, 5 years after a misdemeanor conviction or 8 years after a felony conviction|
|Kansas||Forever||Yes, after 5 years for a first offense or after 10 years for a second offense|
|Kentucky||Forever||Yes, after 5 years for a misdemeanor offense|
|Massachusetts||10 years||No, but you can seal your record for 5 years after a misdemeanor or 10 years after a felony|
|Missouri||10 years||Yes, 10 years after your conviction|
|Montana||5 years||Yes, after 5 years|
|Nevada||7 years||No, but you can have it sealed after 7 years|
|New Hampshire||10 years||Yes, after 10 years|
|New Jersey||10 years||No|
|New Mexico||55 years||No|
|New York||15 years||No|
|North Dakota||7 years||No|
|Rhode Island||5 years||Yes, 5 years later|
|South Carolina||10 years||No|
|South Dakota||10 years||Yes, after 10 years|
|Utah||10 years||Yes, after 10 years|
|Washington DC||10 years||No|
|West Virginia||10 years||No|
|Wyoming||10 years||Yes, after 5 years|
How Long Does It Take To Get a DUI Off Your Record?
The time frame varies, but it can take at least 3 months. Having a DUI written in your records can be debilitating, especially if the conviction was a second or third one. Your job application will be affected if you have a DUI on your record. When you attempt to qualify to buy a home or car or apply for a loan, there are times when a background check is conducted and, as such, will expose the DUI on your record.
Getting a DUI on your record generally takes place after you are convicted of driving over the legal limit. In rare cases, you can be convicted even if you are driving under the legal limit. Once you have been convicted and the DUI on your record is present, you can sometimes utilize expungement to remove it. Each state has different rules regarding the process, filing fees, time that must pass, etc., for expungement of a DUI on your record.
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Types of Driving Records
Your driving record exists in the official and unofficial form. The DMV can provide you with different levels of detailed information. The official form is the certified driving record. The unofficial form is the uncertified driving record. Beyond that, businesses, potential employers, and even individuals can get a motor vehicle report that lists more information about cars than anything else, an online driving record, or just a quick summary of your driving record.
Remember, a DUI will stay on your official and unofficial driving record, meaning law enforcement can see it for however long it remains in your state. The DMV can see it when they’re making decisions about suspending your license or reinstating your suspended license. If your state allows removing it, it is essential to contact a criminal defense attorney to help you with the process.