How Long Will a DWI Stay On My Record?

While being convicted of any crime can present numerous difficulties both now and in the future, a DWI conviction can be one of the most problematic. Since a criminal history is considered a public record, numerous people can perform a relatively simple online search and discover many facts that you would prefer stay hidden. Along with this, a DWI conviction has the possibility of staying on your record indefinitely. If you have been convicted of DWI and are wondering about the effects of this conviction on numerous aspects of your life, here are some answers to these very important questions.

Forever and Ever
Unfortunately, some people have the mistaken belief that a DWI conviction is no different than being found guilty of other traffic violations. However, a speeding violation or other offense pales in comparison to a DWI conviction. For starters, while the amount of time a DWI can stay on your record varies depending on the state where the offense occurred, some states have passed laws in which a DWI conviction stays on your record forever. In addition, a DWI conviction can play havoc when it comes to certain other aspects of your life. For example, if you have past DWI convictions, they will most likely be used against you, leading to higher fines, mandatory license suspensions, and jail time.

Searching Your Criminal History
If you’ve got a DWI conviction, you may not be able to keep it a secret for very long. That’s because many people you come into contact with may at some point conduct a search of your criminal past, ensuring your conviction will be discovered. For example, future employers often conduct a background check of your past, which can limit the jobs you may be able to obtain. Along with this, the DWI conviction can keep you from obtaining a much-needed loan, since lenders almost always search your criminal past. And yes, even your future in-laws can find out about your conviction, ensuring you’ll have plenty of explaining to do at some point to your future family.

Additional Consequences
Along with explaining to your in-laws why you’ve got a DWI conviction, there are additional consequences you may not think about. If you like to travel, be aware you may not be able to rent a car, since most car rental companies will not rent to a person who has a DWI conviction within the past six years. Along with this, plan on paying more to have auto insurance. If you’ve got a DWI conviction, you may have to get an SR-22 for three years following your conviction, which can prove to be costly and inconvenient. And finally, if you’ve got plans to travel outside the United States, be aware your DWI conviction will probably lead to a number of restrictions. For starters, you may lose security clearance to certain countries, as well as be unable to carry a concealed weapon. In some cases, you may be classified as a high-risk individual, where certain nations may in fact forbid your entrance.

Can I Remove the DWI from My Record?
While some states do require a DWI conviction to stay on your record forever, other states do allow you to remove the conviction from your record after a certain amount of time. Known as expungement, the process can take several years from beginning to end, and will require the services of a DWI attorney who has extensive experience in this area. If you’re interested in this option, plan on speaking with a DWI attorney in great detail about your specific circumstances.

Even though it may seem that you will be punished forever due to one bad decision, chances are you will be able to have your DWI conviction removed from your record at some point in time. By speaking with an experienced and knowledgeable DWI attorney, you may have one less indiscretion your in-laws will know about.