DUI Convictions, Driving Record and Expungement Procedure
If you’re like most people facing DUI charges, you don’t know a lot about the workings of the criminal court system and are unsure what to expect. DUI charges can’t be taken lightly. Many states have imposed mandatory jail time for even first-time offenders, and the additional costs and penalties associated with a DUI conviction can be serious as well: probation, mandatory drug and alcohol counseling, installation of an ignition interlock device on your car, expensive high-risk insurance requirements and much more.
To learn more about the possible penalties for a DUI in your state and how you may be able to protect yourself, talk to a local DUI lawyer.
A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can have long-term significant impacts on a person’s life. Everything from employment and rental applications to auto insurance and background checks can be impacted by a criminal conviction on a defendant’s driving record. DUI laws differ from state to state, but a DUI conviction will likely remain on the driving record of a defendant for a minimum of five years.
Prior DUI Convictions Can Be Used for Sentencing
In the majority of states, a prior conviction for a DUI offense can impact an offender’s sentencing for later offenses. There is no time limit to how far the review may go into a defendant’s driving record for sentencing purposes. DUI convictions 20 years old or older are not considered stale during the sentencing phase.
Can a DUI Remain on a Driving Record Forever?
Some people incorrectly assume that a DUI conviction will automatically be removed from a defendant’s driving record after a certain period of time elapses. Although many states have laws that retain a DUI conviction on a defendant’s driving record only for a set number of years, it is still possible to have a conviction on your criminal record forever. For this reason, most criminal defense and DUI defense attorneys advise clients to check their driving records periodically to ascertain whether old DUI convictions remain, in much the same way consumer and commercial attorneys advise clients to monitor credit reports.
The expungement procedure is available for the removal of items like prior DUI convictions from driving records. These laws are state-specific. The expungement process begins by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) where the defendant resides. Each DMV will have a defined procedure for how to remove a prior DUI conviction from a driving record. This process can be done pro se (without counsel), but because it is often tedious, frustrating, slow-moving, and complicated, some parties choose to retain counsel for this purpose. The expungement procedure is performed regularly by DUI defense counsel in many jurisdictions when it is available and appropriate for a particular client.
Sometimes Drivers Can Play a Waiting Game
In some instances, a driver’s DMV record is less damaging the more years that have elapsed since the offense. For example, in most employment applications, an applicant’s driving record is sought for the three prior years. A DUI conviction that falls outside of that period may not have to be disclosed if the application contains no other questions about convictions. Regularly obtaining and reviewing your driving record is advisable to keep tabs on potentially damaging information that may be disclosed and/or reviewed by third parties.
DUI Attorney in West Palm Beach
The most important thing in DUI/DWI cases is early intervention by your attorney. This preliminary involvement will help you avoid the consequences of a conviction, which are very serious in Florida. We will also represent you at your hearing before the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles in order to protect your right to drive.
In addition to DUI/DWI charges, we represent clients in DUI accident cases, including
- Leaving the scene of accident with severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI severe bodily injury
- DUI/DWI homicide
- DUI/DWI manslaughter
There are defenses in DUI accident cases, which an experienced and capable lawyer can use. Even if you made a statement to police during your arrest, our lawyers can usually get that evidence thrown out of court. Any statement you give officers cannot be used against you due to the Florida accident report privilege.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170. Se habla español.
Protecting Your Rght to Drive
Unless your request a DMV hearing within 10 days of arrest, you will lose your driver’s license. Even if your license is revoked, we can apply for a hardship license, which is usually immediately granted to you. We have never had a hardship license denied to one of our clients.