If you end up with a misdemeanor or felony DUI, you might expect the state to wipe your record clean after you pay your dues. But even after paying your fines, spending time in jail, license suspensions and dealing with the other repercussions, the charges remain on your record, leaving you without a chance for a clean start. Worse yet, the charges could bring harsher penalties if you end up facing any other legal problems in the future, especially another DUI. With an understanding of how long a DUI criminal record and driving record reports remain accessible, you can take back control of your life and work toward a better resolution. The first step to that is hiring a firm such as Wood Sims Law, PLLC, known for doing all we can to keep a DUI off your record in the first place.
DUI Criminal Record vs. Driving Record
Whether you end up with a misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction, it will show up on both your criminal record and driving record. Here’s what you need to know about each one.
Once you are convicted of the crime, DUI criminal charges stay on your record for life. You cannot have them vacated, expunged or otherwise removed, which makes them a permanent mark on your record.
A DUI conviction will show up every time anyone performs a background check, including potential employers. Upon reviewing that information, they may decide to rescind their job offer, leaving you without an income and starting over on your search for gainful employment.
In addition, if you end up with another DUI in the future, penalties are increased for sentencing and licensing consequences on the new DUI and can have negative consequences for you on the old DUI if you are still under the court’s jurisdiction. Also, you could face a Felony DUI if you have three prior convictions within the past 10 years, under current law. If that happens, the penalties you face are much harsher, including a lengthy stay in prison.
That’s why it is so important to work with a DUI lawyer from the beginning since they can often help reduce the DUI to lesser charges or possibly keep it off your record altogether. A reduction to a lesser charge opens the doors for you to ask the courts to vacate the lesser charges in the future and clear up negative marks on your record.
Your driving record will take a similar hit with the DUI conviction showing up in no time flat. The record on your driving abstract will also stick with you for life.
Insurance rates will be greatly affected for the foreseeable future as insurers will determine you are a higher risk as a result. The insurance company may choose to drop you as well.
Furthermore, even if an employer does not complete a full background check, they may request proof that you have a clean driving record. Unfortunately, with the DUI there for all to see, you could lose that employment opportunity in an instant.
A DUI conviction also leads to license suspension and SR-22 Financial Responsibility requirement. Additional moving violations and criminal offenses, like reckless driving, can show a pattern that the court may use to justify harsher penalties.
In the end, having the DUI on both your driving record and criminal record can increase your challenges in rebuilding your life and starting fresh. Thankfully, this potential outcome can be avoided but only if you act early. There are actually two ways to lose your license after a DUI arrest. One is early on by the Department of Licensing (DOL) and the other after a conviction on the court side. You only have 7 days to request a DUI Hearing with the DOL, so contact us immediately upon your release if you haven’t already.
Understanding if You Can Vacate Your DUI Charges
If you are facing a DUI charge, it is best practice to reach out to a DUI lawyer right away after arrest. By consulting with a DUI lawyer, you may be able to reduce your charges and ultimately vacate them from your record. For more details on this process, read our blog post on How to Clear a DUI from Your Record.
Consult with the Best DUI Lawyers in Washington
When you need help with DUI charges, call a DUI lawyer as soon as you can to get the representation you need. You are welcome to reach out to our team at Wood Sims Law Office with a call to 206-246-5300. Upon hearing from you, we will set up a free consultation that helps you understand what repercussions you’re facing. Then, with that information, you can create a plan of action that will help you keep DUI criminal charges off your record and allow you to maintain a clean driving record as well.