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How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

  • By: Ron Hedding
  • Published: February 11, 2020

For many years that I’ve been practicing, a DUI would stay on your record for criminal purposes for seven years, but the law changed quite some time ago.  So, now in today’s society, a DUI stays on your record for criminal purposes for ten years.

Meaning, if you pick up a DUI and you have prior DUI’s, they will look back and see whether or not you have another DUI within ten years.  If you, it’s a second-time DUI.  If you have two DUI’s within ten years, it’s a third-time DUI, and so on.

Punishment and Sentencing in DUI Cases

Obviously, the more prior DUI’s you have the more severely the prosecutors and judges are going to treat you for purposes of punishment and sentencing related to your current DUI offense.

So, one area is to look at the DUI for criminal purposes.  Sometimes you’re outside that ten year period but the prosecutors can still see it on your criminal record.  If that’s the case, you can’t stop them from taking it into consideration.

They just can’t legally use it for purposes of enhancing your sentence and calling it a second, third or fourth-time DUI, but they can certainly consider it in the big scheme of things in deciding how they’re going to deal with you for the current DUI that’s pending against you. See CALCRIM 2110– driving under the influence.

Insurance Company Policy for DUI Cases

Also, for insurance purposes, you’re going to want to know how long a DUI will stay on your criminal record and usually the insurance companies can get your criminal record if they run your record the right way and see that you have prior DUI’s, and then it’s just a manner of a particular insurance company’s policy related to DUI’s.  Some of these insurance companies have different policies.How Long Does a California DUI Stay on Your Record?

Some are specifically designed to try to rope-in business for people who have prior DUI’s, so those companies are going to be more lenient when it comes to quoting insurance rates for those individuals who have DUI’s versus a lot of the main stream insurance companies, who simply are not going to give you insurance.

They will quote the quote so high that you won’t be able to pay it or they simply will not insure you because you have a prior DUI on your record.

So, looking at it from a criminal standpoint, it’s looking back ten years.  Looking back from an insurance standpoint, it’s the particular insurance company.  There is another category.  There’s also just your criminal record.

Let’s say you go and try to get a job.  You arrest and conviction — if they do a live scan or if they search your record the right way — they’re going to see your arrest.  They’re going to see your conviction.

DUI Expungement in California

One thing you can do is file a 1203.4 of the Penal Code dismissal.  It used to be called an expungement, but then they realized it’s not really a true expungement in California.

A lot of people were getting confused, thinking when they filed that and it was granted it would be completely wiped off their record, which is not the case.  It shows that there’s a dismissal related to a prior DUI and that’s typically the best you can do in California if you’ve completed your probation and you file that motion.

So, those are the three areas that DUI’s are found in your record, so to speak.  The real issue is, if you’ve got a prior DUI or even a current DUI and you’re concerned about the ramifications are going to be long-term for those three years — your criminal record, your general record and your insurance record.

You’re going to want to sit down with a DUI attorney and probably bring in a Minute Order from your record or even do a live scan which is what I have a lot of people do and then we see what you’re looking at moving forward and whether any of the record can be ameliorated and we can get a 1203.4 motion granted.

For example, if you have a prior DUI and you’ve successfully completed your probation, sometimes people have arrests on their record and nothing was filed, depending on the circumstances we may be able to file a motion to seal and destroy your arrest record.

Reviewing Strategy with a DUI Attorney

So, there’s a number of things that can be done depending on the circumstances and what happened in your case and sometimes there’s nothing that can be done.

Sometimes you’ve got the conviction.  You’ve done the motion and it’s been dismissed.  It shows up and you can see that someone had a DUI and it was dismissed at a particular time.  That’s the best that you can do in California in a lot of the circumstances.

Even if you have a new case and you’re worried about your criminal record, obviously you’re going to want to sit down with somebody like me who’s been doing this for 26 years.

Let’s talk about what you’re truly facing moving forward and I think it’s incumbent upon DUI defense attorneys to e honest with you and tell you and you do the damage control that needs to be done, get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible and move on with your life.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0963.

Ron Hedding

About the Author Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.