There are often many worries running through the minds of those charged with a DUI, particularly “How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record?” This an understandable question — in the worst-case scenario, you want to know how much this conviction will affect you. The answer is not often one people are aware of — a DUI will stay on your record forever in Georgia. In this blog post, we'll cover why DUI convicts receive a permanent criminal record and how this could affect you moving forward.
Is There Any Way to Restrict or Expunge DUI Records?
No, there is no way to restrict or expunge DUI records. The only way to avoid having a DUI on your record is to prevent the conviction from happening in the first place. If you have a criminal defense lawyer on your side, they will be able to defend you in court if you choose to exercise your right to a jury trial.
Why Will a First DUI Conviction Stay on My Record?
You have likely heard of the First Offenders Act before. This act is outlined in GA Code § 42-8-60 and states that for first offenses, judges can defer proceedings before a conviction. The defendant will serve jail time or a probation term. When either of these is completed successfully, they will be “exonerated of guilt and shall stand discharged as a matter of law.” Essentially, this means first offenders get a second chance at having a clean criminal record.
Certain crimes are excluded from the First Offenders Act, though. For the most part, these are what you might expect — violent felonies, aggravated assault against an officer, and so on. Unexpected to many, however, is the tenth crime on the list: driving under the influence. Due to lobbying from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the original First Offenders Act was changed to exclude DUI offenders. Thus, if you get convicted of a DUI, it will remain on your record for the rest of your life.
Will a DUI Conviction Staying on My Record Affect Job or College Prospects?
Yes, one of the consequences of a DUI conviction is that it can affect your ability to find jobs and schools. While companies are not supposed to discriminate on the basis of a criminal record alone, they are allowed to take it into account. If it's a driving-related job, they may determine that employing you poses too high a risk. Certain schools may also factor DUI charges into the admissions process, especially if you're seeking on-campus housing.
How Many Years of Criminal History Are Included in a Background Check?
Based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there is a seven-year lookback period. This means that even though the DUI stays on your permanent record, it shouldn't affect you once these seven years have passed. Even before this limit, employers tend to weigh when you receive a conviction. If enough time has passed without further incident, the conviction may not affect you as strongly as when you were first convicted.
Have You Been Charged with a DUI? Contact Brett Willis Law Today
As mentioned, the best way to keep a DUI off your record is not to be convicted of one in the first place. If you've been charged with a DUI, seek out the help of experienced DUI attorney Brett Willis. With nearly two decades of experience handling some of the most challenging cases, he will aggressively defend your innocence. If you have any further questions about DUI convictions staying on your record and would like a free consultation, contact us today.