A conviction on a charge of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) has two
components. There is an administrative portion, which is dealt with
under civil law, and a criminal component. Both of them can have
consequences long after a fine is paid and any jail time has been
Administrative Component of DUI
When a driver's license is revoked when the individual fails a breath
test, this is an administrative matter that is separate from any
criminal charges. The driver may be required to attend an
administrative hearing within 5-10 days of the traffic stop so that a
decision about whether to suspend driving privileges can be made. An
individual may be found not guilty on the criminal charge of DUI, but
still have his or her license suspended or revoked for refusing to
provide a breath sample or failing the roadside sobriety test.
A DUI may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. The more
serious classification is usually reserved for situations where a
serious injury or death has occurred. A conviction or a plea of "No
Contest" means that the individual will have a criminal record.
A fine or jail sentence is only the beginning of the issue associated
with having a DUI conviction. The information becomes part of the
individual's permanent record and can be accessed by law enforcement
personnel, as well as the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Prospective employers, car insurance companies, and landlords can
access this information when performing a background check.
Consequences of a Criminal Record
The consequences of having a criminal record can be far-reaching. The
person may have his or her voting rights restricted as a result of the
criminal charges; in some states, they may be prohibited from voting
altogether. Opportunities for international travel may be severely
restricted as a result of the conviction as well.
Getting the Record Cleared
It is possible to have the record of a DUI conviction expunged, or
cleared, but this option is not available in all states. A person who
was convicted of a misdemeanor and who has completed all the terms of
probation without being charged with a subsequent offense may apply for
an expungement in many states. Expungement after a felony DUI
conviction may be possible, and the individual should seek out expert
advice to learn about his or her options.
Consult an Expert
A DUI attorney or an expungement firm can advise a person with a
criminal record for DUI about his or her rights. The expert the
individual selects will ask a series of questions about the offense,
when the conviction occurred, and if the client complied with all the
terms of his or her probation or parole. The client will also be asked
for any court records in his or her possession or the case number so
that the record of proceedings can be reviewed.
DUI expungement is not automatic after a certain amount of time has
passed. The person convicted of the offense must apply to have his or
her record erased. Going through the process means the restrictions
that accompany a criminal record are lifted.