Different states hold criminal charges on your record for different periods of time. In California, a DUI will remain up for consideration on your criminal record for ten years. This is called the ten-year "look back" period. In the case of a DUI, all DUI convictions as well as wet reckless convictions will be considered prior offenses. Subsequent DUI or wet reckless offenses within that period will be tallied with all the others from that ten-year period. For example, if you got a DUI five years ago and get another, you will be considered a repeat offender, for the purposes of sentencing. Second offense DUI penalties are harsher than first offense DUIs because California enhances the sentencing for DUI recidivists. However, if your last DUI was 11 years ago, your current DUI will be treated like a first offense. It is important to note that this applies only to instances where you are facing subsequent criminal charges. After ten years, you will still be able to see your DUI on your record, however it cannot be held against you as a prior offense. Although being counted as a prior is not the only downside of having a DUI on your record. The conviction could follow you around for much longer than ten years when applying for certain jobs, housing opportunities or public assistance. Some agencies will ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime, with no time period given. In this case, even it has been ten years, you have to disclose your DUI. There may be action you can take to prevent your DUI charge from affecting you forever. You may be able to get your DUI conviction expunged from your record if you fulfilled all terms of your probation. Probation can last up to five years for a DUI, however, so you may have a few years after conviction before you can expunge it. You may be able to get your probation period ended early in order to dismiss the charge however in both cases, expungement is rare and up to the discretion of the court. In addition to showing up on your criminal record, a DUI will show up on your California driving record for ten years from the date of conviction as well. This record comes into play if you are applying for any special driving licenses and for insurance purposes. For three years after you get your DUI, you will have points against you on your DMV record and this will affect your insurance rates. After ten years, the DUI will be removed automatically from your DMV record. Similarly, you will have to maintain an SR-22 proof of financial responsibility filling for three years. If you are concerned about having a DUI on your record, you may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney to explore your options for cleaning up your record. Your first step would be to request a copy of your criminal record if you don't already have one. Having a copy of your report will ensure you know what potential employers or housing providers will see if they run a background check. You will also need the details of your convictions in order to petition for any of your charges to be reduced or dismissed. If your DUI was charged as a misdemeanor and you successfully completed your probation, you may be able to have your charge dismissed and expunged from your record. If you do this, California employers can't ask you about your conviction because it was dismissed. It is seen as essentially an arrest that did not end in a conviction, because once dismissed, you are not longer convicted of the crime. If you are discouraged by how long a DUI stays on your record, and are worried about facing discrimination from employers, housing providers or public assistance providers, you may want to look into having your charge dismissed. However, for the purposes of DUI sentencing should you get another DUI, your dismissed DUI will still be seen as a prior offense so your 10 year look back period does not start over once a DUI charge is dismissed.
Have you been convicted of a DUI or are currently facing DUI charges in the Tulare, Kings or Fresno County area? Contact experienced DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Mr. Martens has handled thousands of criminal defense cases and has taken over 50+ cases to trial. He will not be afraid to take your case all the way and fight for your rights. With ten years handling criminal defense cases, our Visalia area legal team can advise you on how a DUI will affect your criminal record. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com for a free consultation.