| Read Time: 4 minutes | DUI

Being charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Arizona can have serious and long-lasting consequences. One of the most common questions people have after a DUI arrest is, “How long does a DUI stay on your record?” The answer to this question is not straightforward, as it depends on several factors.

How long does a DUI stay on your criminal record in Arizona?

In Arizona, a DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently, unless you successfully petition the court to have the record sealed.

Arizona law does not provide for the automatic removal of a DUI from your criminal record after a certain period. This means that a DUI conviction can potentially impact your life in various ways, such as employment opportunities, housing applications, and professional licensing, for years to come.

However, it’s important to note that while the conviction remains on your record, the practical effects may diminish over time, especially if you maintain a clean record following the conviction.

Consequences of a DUI conviction in Arizona

A DUI conviction in Arizona carries a range of penalties, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and whether it is a first-time or repeat offense. Some of the potential consequences include:

  • Jail time: First-time offenders may face a minimum of 10 days of jail (with the possibility to suspend 9 days through alcohol classes), while repeat offenders can face significantly longer sentences.
  • Fines and fees: DUI convictions often result in substantial fines, court costs, and other fees, which can total several thousand dollars.
  • License suspension: A DUI conviction typically leads to a driver’s license suspension, which can last anywhere from 90 days to one year or more, depending on the severity of the offense and prior DUI history.
  • Ignition interlock device: In many cases, individuals convicted of DUI are required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, which prevents the car from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content is above a certain level.
  • Probation: Some DUI convictions may result in a probationary period, during which the individual must comply with specific conditions, such as attending alcohol education classes or submitting to regular drug and alcohol testing.
  • Employment and professional consequences: A DUI conviction can negatively impact employment opportunities, especially for jobs that require driving or positions that involve working with children or vulnerable populations. Additionally, professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers may face disciplinary action from their licensing boards.

Is it possible to have a DUI removed from your record in Arizona?

In Arizona, you may be eligible to have your DUI conviction set aside under certain circumstances. A “set aside” does not completely remove the conviction from your record, but it does show that you have fulfilled the terms of your sentence and that the court has vacated the judgment of guilt.

To be eligible for a set aside, you must have completed all the terms of your sentence, including any probation, fines, and restitution. You can then petition the court to set aside the conviction. The court will consider factors such as your criminal history, the severity of the offense, and your behavior since the conviction when deciding whether to grant the set aside.

It’s important to note that a set aside does not guarantee that the DUI won’t show up on background checks or that it won’t have any impact on your life. However, it can demonstrate to potential employers, landlords, or others that you have taken responsibility for your actions and have worked to move past the conviction.

How can you minimize the impact of a DUI on your record?

If you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona, it’s essential to take the matter seriously and seek the help of an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights, explore potential defenses, and work to minimize the impact of the charge on your life.

In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charge to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving, which may have less severe consequences for your criminal and driving records. An attorney can also help you navigate the process of petitioning for a set aside if you are eligible.

Additionally, if you are facing a DUI charge, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to address any underlying substance abuse issues and demonstrate your commitment to avoiding future offenses. This may include completing a substance abuse evaluation, attending counseling or treatment, and participating in a DUI education program.

By taking responsibility for your actions and working to address the root causes of the offense, you can demonstrate to the court, potential employers, and others that you are committed to making positive changes in your life and that the DUI does not define you as a person.

Long-term impact of a DUI conviction

While the legal consequences of a DUI conviction are significant, it’s also essential to consider the long-term impact on various aspects of your life. Some of the potential long-term effects include:

  • Higher insurance rates: A DUI conviction can result in substantially higher car insurance premiums for several years, as insurers view you as a higher-risk driver.
  • Employment challenges: Many employers conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction can make it more difficult to secure employment, especially in fields that involve driving or working with sensitive populations.
  • Housing difficulties: Some landlords and property management companies also conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction may make it more challenging to find suitable housing.
  • Social stigma: A DUI conviction can carry a social stigma, potentially affecting personal relationships and social interactions.
  • Financial strain: The cumulative costs of fines, legal fees, increased insurance premiums, and potential job loss can create significant financial strain for years after the conviction.

Do You Need to Speak with a DUI Defense Lawyer?

If you are someone you love is facing a DUI charge, contact the DUI attorneys at Salwin Law Group. Stewart Salwin is a former prosecutor who now dedicates his practice to helping clients facing DUI and other related charges. He has the knowledge and experience to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the case against you. If you are facing DUI charges in Arizona, call Salwin Law Group today at (480) 702-1789 or fill out a short contact form on our website for a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.

Author Photo

Stewart Salwin

Stewart Salwin is the founder and lead attorney at Salwin Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona, just outside of the greater Phoenix area. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, where he was taught criminal law by world-renowned defense attorneys.

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