How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

A DUI charge in California can come with harsh, life-changing penalties. These can include a suspended license, fines, and even jail time. There is also the potential for a DUI conviction to show up on your criminal record. If you find yourself facing these charges, you may wonder, “How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?” To answer this question, it may prove crucial to seek the counsel of an Azusa DUI attorney.

Under these circumstances, you may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the potential impact that a DUI could have on your future. Not only can a conviction affect your freedoms, but it can also cause your finances to suffer. Furthermore, it can negatively impact any child custody arrangements if you ever get a divorce. A skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to help remove a conviction from your criminal record and safeguard your future.

How Serious Is a DUI Conviction?

Like every other state in the nation, it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in California. If you are of age and operating a passenger vehicle, it is against the law to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

If you hold a commercial driver’s license, the limit is lowered to 0.04 percent. When you are underage, that limit is decreased to 0.01 percent. California is not lenient toward DUI charges. Even first-time offenders can face a litany of fines, the possibility of license suspension, and even jail time, along with mandatory DUI classes.

Additionally, if you are a repeat offender, penalties can increase to extensive jail time, higher fines, and longer periods of license suspension. These charges are not to be taken lightly.

How Long Can a DUI Stay on Your California Driving Record?

Once you have been handed a DUI conviction in California, it will remain on your California driving record for 10 years. This time period begins on the date of your arrest, not your conviction. Unfortunately, there is really no way to have this conviction removed prior to that 10-year date.

This record has the potential to be viewed by several parties, which can affect elements of your future. These parties include:

  • The Department of Motor Vehicles: Your conviction may be taken into consideration when the DMV makes decisions regarding license renewals, revocations, reinstatements, or suspensions.
  • Law Enforcement Agencies: When pulled over in a traffic stop, a police officer will be able to view your DUI conviction.
  • Car Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may use your DUI conviction to modify your policy. Serious matters like these can lead to an increased premium.
  • Potential Employers: Your original conviction, as it is listed on your criminal record, will show up on most background checks that are run by potential employers.

How Long Can a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in California?

Unfortunately, unless you take the correct legal steps to have it removed via an expungement, a DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record indefinitely. This rule applies to all degrees of DUI convictions, including felonies and misdemeanors.

Provided that you have no other convictions on your record, an expungement removes the DUI conviction and allows you to regain a clean record. This will also enable you to say “no” when applying for employment and answer common questions about criminal history.

However, it is important to keep in mind that, if you are arrested on DUI charges another time, the previous conviction will still be considered and the penalties increased.

Expungement will also not remove the conviction from your driving record. No matter what, the DMV will keep this record on file and use it when making all decisions regarding your license until the 10-year period has passed.

How to Qualify for Expungement in California

In the state of California, people convicted of DUI charges can file a petition to pursue an expungement. Anyone with a misdemeanor or felony on their record can do so as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • They have properly finished probation for the offense.
  • They did not serve any state prison time due to the offense.
  • They did serve time in state prison but would have only served county jail time due to the passing of Proposition 47.

To file this petition, you must gather the necessary paperwork. The following information needs to be submitted with your filing:

  • The court in which you were convicted
  • Your name
  • Your case number
  • Your conviction date
  • The section number and code of the violation

Additionally, if you served a period of probation, you are required to state whether you were charged with any additional offenses during that time


Q: What Happens to a DUI After 10 Years in California?

A: In California, after a period of 10 years has passed since your DUI violation and arrest, it will be removed from your driving record. However, law enforcement and employers may still be able to see this on a criminal record, and the only way to prevent this from happening is to pursue a legal expungement.

Q: How Long Does a DUI Charge Show Up on Background Checks in California?

A: The arrest and charge for a DUI in California can appear on your criminal record indefinitely. The only way to avoid this is by seeking an expungement. However, these can be complex legal matters, and it may prove vital to retain the services of a trusted and experienced DUI defense lawyer.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Expunge a DUI in California?

A: The cost of seeking an expungement for DUI charges in California is based on a variety of factors. Depending on the complexity of your case, the fees of an attorney, and all the court fees involved, these costs can range widely. Currently, court fees for filing a petition are $120 for a felony case and $60 for misdemeanors.

Q: How Long Does a DUI Affect Your Insurance in California?

A: Because a DUI charge lasts 10 years on your California driving record, that is how long it will also be viewed by your insurance company. Your policy will likely increase drastically when you are convicted of a DUI, as you will be considered a “high risk” by your insurance company.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer Today

While the reality of facing a DUI conviction is daunting and worrisome, an experienced DUI defense lawyer knows how to advocate on your behalf and seek an expungement. Contact the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores today to learn how our team can help you remove a DUI conviction from your record.

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