| Read Time: 4 minutes | DUI

Getting charged with a DUI in Arizona can have serious consequences that extend well beyond the courtroom. One major concern for many people facing DUI charges is whether the DUI will show up on background checks when applying for jobs or housing. Even if you haven’t been convicted yet, simply being arrested and charged with a DUI can have a negative impact on your future prospects.

Do DUIs Show Up on Background Checks in Arizona?

Yes, in most cases a DUI will show up on a criminal background check in Arizona, even if you were only charged and not convicted. Both DUI arrests and convictions are part of the public record in Arizona. When a potential employer, landlord, or other entity conducts a criminal background check, they will likely be able to see if you have any DUI charges on your record, along with other criminal offenses.

Note: While a DUI will typically show up on a standard criminal background check in Arizona, there may be some limited circumstances where it would not appear. For example, if the DUI occurred many years ago and the record has been expunged, or if a very narrow background check is conducted that only looks for certain types of offenses. However, in the vast majority of cases, assume that your DUI charge or conviction will be visible.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

In Arizona, a DUI will remain on your criminal record forever unless you take action to have it removed through a legal process called a “petition to seal.” There is no automatic expungement of DUI records after a certain period of time in Arizona like there is in some other states. This means that the DUI can continue impacting background checks for employment, housing, and other purposes for the rest of your life.

Even if the DUI charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty in court, the arrest itself could still appear on some background checks. The only way to have the DUI completely removed in Arizona is for a court to grant a petition to seal the arrest record and the court record for your DUI case. Another legal process that can be used to lessen the impact of a DUI is called a “set aside.” A set aside does not totally erase the DUI, but it does show that the case was dismissed and releases you from certain penalties and disabilities. A set aside will also entitle you to a “certificate of second chance,” which can assist a person with a criminal record in many ways, including helping obtain professional licenses. 

How a DUI Can Impact Employment Background Checks

A DUI on your record can be a red flag for potential employers, even if the job does not involve any driving. Many employers have concerns about hiring someone with a criminal record, including a DUI. They may see it as a sign of poor judgment, a substance abuse issue, or just a general liability.

Whether a DUI affects your ability to get hired often depends on the specific job and employer. For example:

  • Jobs that involve driving a company vehicle will almost always disqualify candidates with DUIs on their record.
  • Jobs involving the health and safety of others, like medical professions or childcare workers, may be harder to obtain with a DUI.
  • Government jobs and jobs requiring security clearance typically cannot hire candidates with certain criminal charges within the last 5-10 years.
  • Even for other jobs not directly impacted by a DUI, many employers still conduct criminal background checks and may prefer a candidate without any record over someone with a DUI charge.

What to Do If You Have a DUI on Your Record in Arizona

If you have been convicted of a DUI in Arizona, pursuing a set aside or petition to seal is likely your best option for minimizing the impact on background checks. An experienced DUI attorney can help you determine if you qualify for a set aside and guide you through the legal process.

During the set aside process, you may need to demonstrate that you have completed all sentencing requirements, including any classes, community service, or probation. The court will consider the circumstances of your case, your criminal history, and your behavior since the conviction. If a set aside is granted, the DUI conviction will be dismissed and your record will show that you have completed your sentence.

For those who have only been charged with a DUI and have not been convicted, working with a skilled DUI defense attorney is critical for fighting the charges and keeping the DUI off your permanent record. An attorney may be able to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, challenge BAC test results, or negotiate for reduced or dismissed charges. Taking action quickly after a DUI arrest can improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Arizona, don’t just accept the charges and assume that a conviction is inevitable. A DUI defense attorney can develop a personalized strategy to help you avoid the harsh penalties of a DUI and the long-term consequences a conviction can have on background checks for employment and housing.

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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