How long does it take for a DUI to get off your record in Arkansas?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious violation of Arkansas driving laws. And the offence is usually met with stringent punishment. Even first offenders face the prospect of very likely imprison
ment and impressive fines.
Even worse, possible punishments for a DUI conviction increases with each extra offence. With this in view, it’s usually best to ensure that you’re not found on the wrong side of the law.
But if you find yourself convicted of a DUI in Arkansas, you could bag more than imprisonment, fines or suspension of your drivers
’ license. It is a serious legal event that can have a huge impact on your career, social life and relationships.
Ordinarily, when a person is convicted for a DUI (or any offence) the conviction is entered on their record. So if anyone knows where to look, there’s plain information on a record of previo
us conviction for a DUI.
This record can make things a bit difficult for the concerned person. Prospective employers, for one, are usually very interested in finding out all they can about future employee before they take the hiring plunge.
According to recent statistics from the Society for Human Resource Management, 92% of employers require some form of background check before they extend an employment offer. These checks often play a large part in the decision to hire or not and a DUI conviction on your record can make it hard to stand out.
And it doesn’t end with only employers. Seeking a loan, buying or renting a house and even trying to adopt a kid are everyday situations that could be substantially affected by the fact of a previous DUI conviction on your record.
Considering these, it’s legitimate to have a few questions about how long it would take for a DUI to get off your record.
How long does a DUI stay on your record?
The question of how long a DUI will stay on your record depends on if it is being considered for sentencing purposes or for full removal of the conviction from your record.
For sentencing purposes
The laws governing DUI in Arkansas have something called a “look-back period”. This means that each conviction is taken into account in determining the seriousness of the next DUI offence.
Under Arkansas laws, a person that commits a DUI is under something like a probationary period for the first 5 years after committing the first offence. If the person does not commit another DUI within 5 years of committing the first offence, then the probationary period ends after 5 years.
If the person is charged with another DUI after that period, they will be treated as a first offender instead.
However, if another DUI is committed within 5 years of committing the first offence, the new charge will be more serious, attracting greater fines and imprisonment. For instance, if the person commits another DUI 2 years after committing the first offence, they will be liable to more serious penalties.
If no further offence is committed within a period of 5 years after the first two offences, then the person will be treated as a first offender if they commit another offence.
This means that, in Arkansas, a DUI will remain on your record for 5 years after commission of the offence for the purpose of computing the seriousness of the charge and the sentence that can be imposed.
For full removal
Generally, if you’re convicted for a DUI in Arkansas, it will stay on your record forever. There’s no provision for sealing or wiping of the record after any length of time.
The best that can happen is the conviction will no longer be considered for the purpose of determining the seriousness of a subsequent offence after 5 years of committing the first offence.
You may explore the possibilities of expungement
After considering the passage of a law that allows offenders to have their records expunged in respect of specific offences, the Arkansas legislature finally passed Act 626 in 2011.
Under the Act, persons that have been previously convicted for the listed offences will be allowed a shot at having the convictions expunged off their records. The offences are:
- Negligent Homicide;
- Battery – 3rd Degree;
- Indecent Exposure;
- Public Sexual Indecency;
- Sexual Assault – 4th Degree;
- Domestic Battery – 3rd Degree; and
- DUI – felony and misdemeanour.
Having the conviction expunged means that it will be struck off the offender’s record as if there was never a conviction in the first place. The individual whose record has been expunged will now have all their privileges and rights restored and shall be completely exonerated.
Once the procedure to expunge the records is complete, a uniform order to seal the records of the individual will be given by the court. Upon entry of the uniform order, the person’s conviction and the facts surrounding shall be deemed as a matter of law to never have happened.
The individual will be able to state anywhere that no such conviction ever occurred and that there are no records to that effect. The records will be closed off to the general public. So, there’ll be no chance that they will turn up on any background checks.
Under the new law, an offender will only be able to petition the Arkansas Traffic Court for an expungement after 5 years have passed since the completion of the imposed cri
And even then, the expungement order will not be granted automatically upon submission of a petition. The Arkansas Traffic Court could still refuse the petition and order that the conviction remain on the person’s record.
However, the standard for refusing petitions are very high under the law. According to the language of the statute, the court should grant the expungement unless there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the record should not be expunged.
Although the procedure to obtain this expungement is time consuming and may be expensive, it will certainly be worth your while to explore the possibilities.
Get in touch with a qualified lawyer
Since expungement offers you some hope of getting a DUI off your record, it would benefit you greatly if you retain the services of qualified legal counsel to advice you on how best to proceed and also set the procedure in motion.
If you have any questions on how the expungement process may work, our lawyers stand ready to help you. All you have to do is get in touch.