How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record?

Categories: DUI Defense

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*This article was updated in August 2021.*

A DUI conviction is serious. While you have the immediate consequences of dealing with (e.g., jail time, fines, and losing your driver’s license), you also have the long-term effect of a DUI conviction being on your criminal record.

A criminal record, including infractions like DUIs, shows up on any background check employers and potential landlords conduct. This could affect your ability to get a job or even live in certain areas.

One question you might ask is whether you can remove a DUI from your criminal record. Unfortunately, the state of Colorado does not allow you to remove it; therefore, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney and mount a strong defense – and hopefully avoid a conviction entirely.

Criminal Records and DUIs for Grand Junction, CO, Residents – Here is What You Need to Know

There are instances where a DUI will appear on your criminal record. The impact that record has on your future will depend on the outcome of your current case (whether you were convicted or merely charged) and the number of DUIs you have previously incurred.

When a DUI Will Appear on Your Criminal Record

You can have a criminal record without being convicted of the DUI itself. The arrest will show up on a criminal background check. Therefore, if you were acquitted or the district attorney drops their case, you have a record of that DUI arrest despite the outcome.

If you were convicted, your DUI would also be on the criminal record.

Lookback Periods for Colorado DUIs Influence How Previous DUIs Affect Future DUIs

Every state has what is known as a “look-back period.” This period is how long the courts can consider subsequent offenses and increase the penalties for those offenses. In some states, after so many years, your past DUIs will not have an impact on those you may incur in the future.

In Colorado, however, there is no lookback period. That means that you could still have a DUI from 10 years ago affect you today. In general, most courts will only look back for five to seven years to determine penalties, but that does not mean they cannot look further. Regardless, the past DUIs remain on your criminal record even if they are 10 or 20 years old.

In Colorado, You Cannot Remove a DUI from Your Record

Even if your case is dismissed as a result of deferred judgment, the record remains. Therefore, your DUI would show up in a criminal background check. Deferred judgment occurs when a defendant agrees to plead guilty. The prosecution will then file a motion with the court to remove the guilty plea after a specific number of years (and sometimes after meeting specific requirements).

Never accept a plea bargain without speaking to a defense attorney first, especially when it comes to a DUI. Because these cannot remove from your record, even a deal that involves dismissing charges from your file still keeps the DUI on record.

Driving Record and Criminal Record Are Not the Same Thing

While your criminal record remains blemished, it is not the same for your driving record. The DUI stays on your driving record for ten years in Colorado, and you have 12 points assessed against you. The points only last for two years.

That means your insurance will be affected during the period those points are assessed, and any subsequent traffic violations (DUI-related or not) will significantly influence your insurance premiums.

It Is Better to Prevent a DUI Conviction Entirely

The only way to not have a DUI on your record is to be acquitted (or the case dropped), and ten years have passed since the incident. If you were convicted, that record remains in place for the rest of your life – even if that means 50 years later.

A strong DUI defense can help you clear your name so that you may avoid a permanent scar on your driving record as well as your criminal history. Also, when you have a qualified attorney working with you, you can minimize the chances of a conviction and avoid the issues that come with one.

The Penalties Are Harsh for Even First-Time Offenders

You might be a first-time offender, but that does not mean that you will walk away from your arrest without a punishment. In Colorado, the first offense results in an automatic driver’s license suspension for nine months. Also, you can pay $600 to $1,000 in fines and spend up to one year in jail. Furthermore, you may need to serve up to 96 hours of community service.

On top of these penalties, the court may require driver’s education and alcohol counseling.

As you can see, even a first-time offender faces severe penalties. Now, if you were to offend again, and the courts know that you have a past DUI within a few years from the recent incident, you might find less leniency and harsher punishments.

There are no mandatory terms required for the first DUI in Colorado. But if you have a BAC that is too high or have subsequent offenses, you will start to encounter mandatory terms.

For example, it is your first offense, but you have a BAC of 0.20 and higher. Now you must serve a minimum of ten days in jail.

If it is your fourth DUI, you have a mandatory six years in prison, and you will be charged with a felony – not a misdemeanor.

Probation Violations Are Serious with DUIs

You may receive a suspended sentence with your DUI, but do not ignore the restrictions imposed by the judge for your probation. If you violate your probation for a DUI, you may serve additional jail time along with serving out your remaining sentence. You may also face other criminal charges – depending on the severity of the violation.

Speak with an Attorney about Your DUI Today

Have you been arrested for a DUI? If so, you need an attorney in your area that understands the implications of these arrests and knows how to have them removed once you have the charges dropped. Contact attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., now to receive immediate criminal defense.

We understand that your constitutional rights are at risk, and we want to protect you from overzealous prosecutors looking to make a community example. It is our primary goal to reach the best possible outcome in your DUI case.

To discuss your case and defense strategies that might help your case, call us now at 970-704-0888. You can also request more information online.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.