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How long will a DUI stay on my record in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Driving Offenses

Getting arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense can affect many different aspects of someone’s life. The Pennsylvania courts can incarcerate someone, order them to pay large fines and suspend their driver’s license over a DUI conviction.

There are also other penalties associated with a DUI conviction that can affect someone’s personal life. Employers in the future may choose not to hire or promote someone because of a prior DUI on their record. Landlords and educational institutions may also take a prior conviction into consideration when making choices about someone’s application. Insurance companies might use someone’s prior DUI as a justification for charging them more for liability coverage.

DUIs are usually a permanent blemish

The law in Pennsylvania does allow some people to request an expungement of criminal convictions. Often, someone must wait a decade to be eligible for expungement. Even then, they need to have reached a relatively advanced age to be eligible in most cases.

Pennsylvania generally does not offer simple and straightforward expungement for DUI convictions. Therefore, the record of someone’s impaired driving incident will continue to turn up during background checks for the rest of their life. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may also inform other parties about a DUI conviction. They do not provide a specific reporting period, but insurance companies tend to factor in a DUI for between three and five years in most cases.

The only sure way to eliminate the social and financial consequences of a Pennsylvania DUI is to fight the charge rather than pleading guilty. Those who successfully defend against their charges or convince the courts to dismiss the case against them won’t have to worry about a drunk driving incident showing up whenever they apply for a new job, a new apartment or enrollment at an institution of higher education. Possible defense strategies might include questioning the legality of a traffic stop or providing alternate explanations for why someone failed a chemical breath test.

Understanding how long a DUI conviction can haunt someone may help people better comprehend the value obtained by fighting back against charges at trial.