How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

November 20, 2019

A DUI conviction will go on both your driving record and your criminal record.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, then two of your “records” will be impacted: your driving record and your criminal record. This can have significant consequences for your life, often in unexpected ways.

First, when you are convicted of a DUI, it will go onto your driving record with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a period of 10 years. This time starts to run when you are arrested, rather than when you pled guilty or were convicted of the driving charge. While having a DUI on your driving record may not seem like a big deal, it can impact your life significantly.

As part of a DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for a period of time — the length will depend on the severity of the offense. In order to get your license back, you will generally be required to obtain proof of financial responsibility. This is typically done through what is known through a SR-22 certificate. This is obtained through your car insurance company, which issues the certificate directly to the DMV. The SR-22 must then be issued annually for a period of time after your conviction (usually 3 to 5 years).

As a DUI defense lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can explain, if you need SR-22 insurance, you are considered a “high risk” driver. While your insurance company cannot raise your rates during the current policy term, it can either increase your premium or even cancel your policy entirely when it is up for renewal. You could end up paying an additional $800 to $1,000 a year for car insurance because of a DUI conviction.

In addition, while the DUI conviction is on your driving record, the DMV will use it as part of its decision-making process if you have other violations. It will weigh against you if the DMV is considering whether to suspend, revoke, or reinstate your license based on other driving issues. Under current law, there is no way to have a DUI taken off of your record before the 10 year period has expired.

Second, a DUI goes on your criminal record permanently. This is true whether you were convicted of a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI. For purposes of additional DUI convictions, there is a 10 year “lookback” period. This means that if you are charged with another DUI offense, then the prosecutor will “look back” 10 years to see if you have a prior DUI or alcohol-related conviction.

According to a DUI defense lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, you may be eligible to have a DUI conviction expunged and then cleared from your criminal record. If you have served all penalties for your DUI, which includes successfully completing probation, and your sentence did not include prison time, and you are not currently facing any other criminal charges, then you may be able to have your DUI conviction expunged. Importantly, an expunged DUI will still count as a prior offense for purposes of the lookback period.

If you have been charged with a DUI, we are here to help. The legal professionals at the Chambers Law Firm are dedicated to assisting people like you who are facing criminal charges related to driving under the influence. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or to schedule a free initial consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

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