How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?
One of the most common questions asked by people in Arizona who have been convicted of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is just how long does a DUI stay on your record. Let’s start with the bad news. When you have a DUI on your record, it will remain there forever. You will not be able to seal that record or have it expunged. It’s part of the record forever. Naturally, this is devastating news to those who have a DUI.
However, there is some better news. Although you can’t have it removed, you can often have it “set aside”. This means that under Arizona Revised Statute 13-905, there will be an indication on your record that says you have completed the sentence. This term will appear on your record and background checks done on you. While this might seem intrusive, it’s the law. Additionally, when an employer sees that the DUI has been set aside, they are more likely to hire you.
How Does the Conviction Get Set Aside?
It’s important to realize that this won’t just happen automatically after a certain period. You need to request for it to happen by filing an Application to Set Aside a Prior Conviction. Fortunately, you do not have to pay a filing fee for the application, and there’s not a waiting period before it goes into effect after the court agrees to set it aside.
However, before they will grant this, the court may want to hold a hearing. This is so they can learn more about the case and determine whether the case should be set aside or not. Just because you request it does not mean they will grant it. The court will consider a range of factors when they are making their decision.
They will want to know more about the details of the case. How many other DUIs do you have? What were the circumstances surrounding the case? For example, was anyone hurt? Was there property damage? They will also want to know more about the rest of your criminal history to see if there are problematic patterns.
The court also wants to know how well you complied with the terms of probation. Were there any issues? Did you pay restitution if it was required? How old were you when it happened? The court doesn’t just want to set aside everyone’s DUI convictions. They need to be sure that you have changed and that you’ve learned the error of your ways.
If the court finds that you haven’t changed and that you have other legal issues, even if they aren’t related directly to DUI, it is going to be much harder for you to get the conviction set aside.
The good news is that if they feel that your conviction should be set aside, it can happen relatively quickly. Although it would be nice if it were possible to have DUIs removed or expunged, it’s just not possible in Arizona. The set-aside information will always remain on your record, but this is the best option available for those who have DUIs.
Benefits of Getting DUI Set Aside
One of the biggest benefits of having the conviction set aside is for your employment opportunities. Often, employers are wary of hiring someone with convictions on their record. They worry that something like a DUI conviction shows that someone is not trustworthy or that they may not have the best judgment. This can prevent you from getting hired even at jobs where you wouldn’t be behind the wheel. When the employer sees that the conviction has been set aside though, it changes things. They know that the state believes you have made up for your errors and has put more faith in you that you’ve changed. Therefore, you will be more likely to get hired than you would if the conviction weren’t set aside.
Could Charges Have Been Reduced or Dismissed?
Sometimes, the charge against you might not have stuck if you’d had a good lawyer working on your behalf. Attorneys who know and understand DUI law can often find ways to help in these matters. For example, they might find that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over, or that the field sobriety tests were not done properly.
There could be any number of reasons the attorney can find that could help you avoid conviction or at least get a lesser charge. Perhaps you have a medical condition, they used a defective breathalyzer, or the blood samples were contaminated, for example.
If you have been accused of DUI, your best course of action is to get in touch with an attorney right away. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they can start working on a defense for your case. The last thing you want to do is act as your own defense on these types of cases, as it will be difficult for you to succeed. Find and work with an experienced attorney.
When they can have those charges reduced or dismissed, it will be far better for your future. You won’t have to worry about not getting hired because of a conviction or set aside on your record.
How to Avoid Future DUI Convictions
There isn’t too much of a mystery about how you can do this. Simply don’t drink or take drugs and get behind the wheel. Even if you’ve had just one drink or you are certain you can drive home, don’t do it.
There is always the danger of a police officer pulling you over and then charging you with a DUI. There is a larger risk that you are more inebriated than you realize, and you will put yourself and others at risk when you are on the road. If your actions were to injure or kill someone, those are things you can’t take back. They will always weigh on you and will follow you for the rest of your life. If you’re asking “How long does a DUI stay on your record?” consider yourself lucky, as others may have gotten themselves into far more trouble.