If you have been arrested and convicted for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of intoxicating substances (DUI or DWI), that conviction will appear on two separate records: your driving record, and your criminal conviction record.
Each of the fifty states has different laws and rules on when your DUI or DWI conviction will be removed from your driving record. You can generally assume that a DUI or DWI will stay on your driving record for at least five years, and in certain states for up to twenty years. Subsequent convictions can extend this blot on your driving record. Your criminal record, however, is permanent. Unless you are able to have a felony DUI or DWI conviction expunged from your criminal history, that conviction will always arise when your criminal background is checked.
Your driving record will be maintained by your state’s department of motor vehicles.
If you are stopped by a policeman or state trooper and your blood alcohol level is more than 0.08%, you will be arrested for DUI or DWI. If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test when you are stopped, your refusal will often be used as proof that you were intoxicated at the time of the stop. (A small minority of states have also criminalized a refusal to submit to a blood or alcohol test, but those criminal statutes are currently subject to a challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.) Most experts estimate that a DUI citation will cost up to $10,000 in fines, attorneys’ fees and increased insurance premiums. Auto insurance premiums, in particular, typically double when a person has a DUI arrest on his or her driving record.
If you caused property damage or injured someone while you were driving under the influence, you will be subject to a felony arrest and a criminal trial. If convicted, that criminal conviction will follow you through the remainder of your life. A single criminal felony conviction can lead to your imprisonment, and multiple DUI felony convictions will lead to significant jail time. After a period of time during which you have no further convictions, you can seek to have your criminal record expunged, but that process is lengthy and expensive, and in most cases your chances of expungement are generally low.
A DUI conviction can be the catalyst that convinces an alcoholic to seek treatment for his disease. Most alcoholics are generally aware of the significant adverse effects of a DUI conviction, but the lure of alcohol is so overwhelming to an alcoholic that those effects are denied or ignored. An alcoholic might try to manage his disease by staying away from his car while intoxicated, but alcohol clouds a person’s judgment. Even with the best of intentions that were made while sober, an alcoholic can easily discard his resolve and get behind the wheel of a car when alcohol takes control of his thinking. If you sense that you are having problems controlling your alcohol intake, the better solution will always be to get treatment before you are saddled with a DUI on your driving record and a criminal felony conviction on your personal background record.
The Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, is available to work with men who are experiencing problems with their alcohol consumption.
Please call us at 512-360-3600 for advice and assistance on how we can help you before you are facing a DUI problem. We can help you get your life back in order after a DUI conviction.
We urge you to contact us before your alcohol problem spirals out of control.