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Written by Attorney Seth Morris


You’ve been convicted of driving under the influence, and now you’re wondering how long your conviction will affect your life. Well, it may depend on what you consider important. For example, are you worried about your driving record, insurance rates, or criminal record?

Here’s more about what you can expect with a California DUI on your record as you plan for the future.

What’s the Impact of a DUI Conviction in Cali?

The consequences of a DUI can be divided into immediate and long-term penalties. You can spend between 48 hours and six months in jail for a first offense as soon as you’re convicted.

This jumps to a jail sentence of 120 days to one year for a third conviction. Fines range from $390 to $1,000, but you may also be expected to pay court fees and other expenses, such as an ignition interlock device, alcohol and drug treatment, and attorney fees.

Long-term, a DUI can be even more significant. You can expect to lose your license for at least six months for a first offense, two years for a second offense, and three years for a third offense. Your criminal record may cost you your job, keep you out of specific career paths, skyrocket your insurance rates or get you dropped by your insurance company, and wreck your reputation.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on a Driver’s Record?

Generally, a DUI stays on your driving history for ten years. That means your driving record should essentially reset after ten years and allow you to enjoy more affordable insurance and less scrutiny from police officers and DMV employees.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record?

The news is a bit bleak if you’re curious about how long a DUI remains on your criminal record. Generally, a DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record forever. Unless you take active steps to remove a conviction from your record, anyone who pulls a criminal background check will be able to see your conviction and judge you accordingly.

Can a DUI Be Expunged in California?

In California, you may be able to have a DUI expunged. This allows you to withdraw your plea and have the case dismissed. However, if your record is expunged, you are still considered to have a prior DUI when sentenced for subsequent crimes. If you get arrested for driving under the influence again within ten years of the original conviction, it will be considered a second conviction.

Getting your record expunged can help with job searches, as you don’t have to disclose an expunged conviction. This is not the case when you apply for licensure or a specific credential in your field.

If your record is expunged, it does not affect your driving record. You will still have to finish all license suspensions required by the California DMV and meet their administrative requirements.

Qualifying for DUI Expungement

As you may have guessed, not everyone qualifies to have their record expunged. You may apply to have your conviction expunged if you successfully finished your probation for the offense inquisition.

You must also have either not served any time for the offense in state prison or show that you would have been able to serve your prison time in county jail, based on realignment as described in Proposition 47.

This requirement generally excludes those who have four convictions within a 10-year timeframe or cause serious bodily injury or death while impaired. You must also not have been charged with any other criminal offenses in the interim and must wait at least one year from the date of conviction to apply for expungement.

Call Morris Law for DUI Help

Contact Morris Law, A Criminal Defense Firm if you’re seeking expungement or trying to stop a DUI charge from becoming a conviction. To set up a free consultation with a DUI attorney, reach out to us online or call (510) 225-9955. Don’t let a DUI take away your future.