Drunk driving is one of the most common criminal charges filed in Arizona. According to data included within the Arizona Highway Safety Annual Report, law enforcement officers in the state make nearly 30,000 DUI arrests each year. A DUI arrest must be taken seriously. A conviction could cost you a lot of money, your driver’s license, and your clean record. So, how long does a DUI stay on your record in Arizona?
When there is a conviction, a DUI will stay on a person’s criminal record forever. Even if not convicted, however, a DUI arrest goes on your driver’s record. In both instances, when a criminal background or driving record search is conducted, the arrest or conviction can show up. The best thing you can do is fight the charge now in both the administrative and criminal processes. Here are the key things to know about DUI charges and the latter’s impact on your criminal record and driving record.
How Long Does a DUI Stay On Your Records in Arizona?
As a starting point, it is important to clarify that there are actually two types of “records” that could list a DUI arrest/conviction—your administrative driving record and your criminal record. Here is how long a DUI conviction will remain visible on each type of record in Arizona.
Arizona Criminal Record
A DUI conviction will permanently appear on your criminal record in Arizona. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, the only way to get the offense off your criminal record is to avoid a conviction. Not only does a DUI not “roll off” of a person’s criminal record after a set period of time, but a conviction is not eligible for expungement in Arizona.
Arizona Driving Record
Beyond the criminal charge, a DUI is a serious administrative traffic violation that could cost you your license even if you are never actually convicted of the charge. In Arizona, a DUI is an 8-point offense. If you get more than 12 points in a year, your license is subject to suspension. A DUI is technically never removed from your driving record, but the points that you accumulate will eventually roll off. In Arizona, points stay on your license for three years.
What to Know About DUIs and Expungement in Arizona (Set Aside Only)
Expungement is a formal legal process through which certain types of records are sealed from the public. A DUI conviction cannot be expunged in Arizona. As noted previously, a DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record forever. That being said, there is an alternative to expungement available called a “set aside.”
Under Arizona law (ARS 13-905), a DUI conviction can be “set aside”—meaning a person’s criminal records will be updated to clarify that they completed all of the requirements associated with their conviction. Still, the DUI conviction will not be removed. It will continue to show up in background checks, including background checks run by an employer.
The Best Approach is to Keep a DUI Off of Your Record
In light of Arizona’s relatively strict laws regarding criminal records (no expungement for DUI conviction), it is crucial that defendants take proactive steps to keep a DUI off of their record in the first place. Do not assume you have no options to defend against an intoxicated driving charge. There are a number of different defenses that can be raised in a DUI case. An experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney will be able to assess your case, review the evidence, and fight to protect your rights at both the administrative level and criminal level.
Get Trusted, Comprehensive Help for Your Arizona DUI Defense
Were you arrested on DUI charges in Arizona? It is imperative that you take immediate action to protect your rights. You can fight a DUI charge—both at the administrative hearing and in the criminal justice process. You are not alone. Contact Restorify by DUI.org for a free, fully confidential consultation. Local Arizona DUI defense lawyers are standing by, ready to get started on your case.