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How long does a DUI stay on your record?


Lisa Huyhn

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You’ve made a really big mistake, and now you have to pay for it. The consequences of a DUI conviction include high fines, license suspension, jail time, and more. But are those consequences different for different people? How long can a DUI stay on your record? What are the consequences? And what can you do if you’ve been charged with a DUI?

What is a DUI?

Let’s take a quick look at what the Department of Motor Vehicles calls a “DUI,” or “driving under the influence.” A DUI usually means someone was arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. This is about the same as alcohol impairment, or an oncoming car full of alcohol. Here are some statistics about DUI arrests in the United States: In 2015, more than 11 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, with more than 88,000 people dying from alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Driving under the influence resulted in one death in the United States every 50 minutes. An estimated 30 million Americans believe driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not a serious offense.

How Long Does A DUI Stay On Your Record?

Many people might assume that because they weren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they don’t have to worry about anything showing up on their record. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even if you’ve only been charged with a DUI or are found guilty of a DUI, a judge may consider you a “secondary” offender and use your record as evidence of prior bad behavior. Even if you never see the inside of a jail cell, you could be charged with a DUI if you were intoxicated and you were in a car with someone under the influence. If you want to find out how long a DUI conviction stays on your record, you’ll need to check with the law enforcement agency that issued your driving license. Often, these agencies won’t list the reasons for a driving license revocation.

According to Forbes, a DUI can affect your driving record for between 3 and 10 years when it comes to insurance rates.

What are the consequences of a DUI conviction?

Even though you are no longer legally allowed to drive under the influence, you are still on the hook for the costs of a DUI. The first expense you may experience is the legal fees incurred by the criminal prosecution. These legal fees typically range from $2000-$5000. Many of these fees will be billed to you by the prosecutor. Those who are charged with DUI, receive a DUI conviction, and are looking to seek help, may also hire a lawyer to represent them. In states where the legal aid laws exist, a DUI lawyer can help make sure that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. If you don’t have the means to pay for your lawyer, you can hire a free attorney through Legal Aid. The consequences for DUI are serious.

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How long does a DUI conviction stay on your record?

How long will a DUI stay on your record? Stock image of a broken glass with ice and amber liquid inside it and a set of car keys by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
A DUI conviction will stay with you long after the buzz wears off

According to the California Department of Justice, a DUI conviction stays on your record for the rest of your life. So if you’re ever stopped by the police, you’re still responsible for whatever actions you’ve taken up to that point. The California DUI law goes further, saying that even after you’ve completed all the requirements of your sentence and probation, a DUI is a conviction and you will be charged. Also, if you were arrested with a blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent, that DUI is a violation. It will also stay on your record as a conviction until you successfully complete a period of driving under the influence prevention court, which will vary by county. RELATED: Here’s What To Do If You Hit and Run Someone While Drunk Does a DUI count as an arrest or a conviction?

What can I do if I’ve been charged with a DUI?

Be honest and answer honestly. Some will tell you that your breathalyzer test was faulty or that they had two glasses of wine instead of one. That’s not how it works. If your test came out in the red, the officer is required by law to give you a DUI warning. You can’t go out drinking again that night because you’re on notice that you might be over the limit and could face a DUI if you’re caught. And if you’re over the legal limit, the officer can take you to jail for a mandatory blood test, which is generally done within 30 minutes. When the blood test comes back, you’ll be notified right away that it shows you have a .15% BAC, or your BAC is twice the legal limit of .08%.

How Does A DUI Effect Your Car Insurance Cost?

How long does a DUI stay on your record? One really important issue that you have to think about when getting charged with a DUI is your car insurance rates. Car insurance is incredibly important, because if you’re in an accident with someone that was driving under the influence, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble. But the good news is that your insurance rates don’t have to take a hit if you’re charged with a DUI, especially if you’re responsible and maintain an accident-free record. The Insurance Administration Division of The California Department of Insurance reviews DUI case files and looks at other information, such as driving record and previous traffic offenses, before issuing the results of the evaluations.

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