Lawyers often discuss how driving under the influence falls under a separate category of law compared to criminal law.
However, it’s important to understand that a DUI is a serious offense that could lead to a criminal record if found guilty.
If you’re facing such charges in Arizona, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the legal process and learn how to handle the situation with confidence.
Learn more about DUI convictions in Arizona and what to do if you find yourself in trouble.
How Long is a DUI on Your Record in Arizona?
Here’s what you need to know:
In Arizona, no provision allows for the complete expungement of a DUI.
“Expungement” refers to the total erasure of a criminal record, making it non-existent in state and federal databases.
However, Arizona does provide an option to “set aside” a DUI conviction, although it doesn’t equate to a complete removal.
When faced with the possibility of being charged with driving under the influence, you must take the right action.
More importantly, you must do your best to avoid getting a DUI charge on your record, as Arizona DUI laws are very strict, and they do not take the matter lightly.
A criminal record will taint your resume when seeking future job opportunities.
There are various outcomes based on your behavior, but being convicted is never good.
For instance, a DUI might have severe ramifications if your job requires you to drive.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Arizona, your conviction could affect your eligibility to obtain a driver’s license.
Also, many employers are known to turn down applicants who are convicted felons.
No matter how clean your driving record is, many companies prefer to avoid hiring those previously convicted of a felony.
The Impact of Your First DUI Conviction in Arizona
If you face a DUI conviction for the first time in Arizona, be prepared for many significant repercussions.
Penalties you might confront include:
- Spending anywhere from 24 hours to 6 months behind bars
- Paying fines ranging from $250 to $2,500, alongside various surcharges and additional fees
- Enduring a suspended license for up to a year
- Being placed on probation for as long as 3 years
- The mandatory installation and use of an ignition interlock device
Yet, the fallout doesn’t end with these penalties.
A haunting reality is that this conviction lingers on your record indefinitely.
Its presence becomes evident during background checks, potentially hindering job opportunities.
However, there’s a silver lining in Arizona’s “look back” period of 7 years.
This stipulates that if one faces another DUI charge within this seven-year window after the initial conviction, it escalates to a second offense.
The first offense doesn’t factor in if this subsequent charge arises after seven years.
Yet, this only offers solace in legal terms after an extended duration.
While there’s no route to erase a DUI entirely from one’s record, avenues exist for individuals seeking some form of redress.
Can I Get a DUI Set Aside in Arizona?
A DUI can be set aside in the state of Arizona.
The term “setting aside” describes removing a prior conviction from a person’s record so that it might not be considered or counted against them.
Unfortunately, a DUI record can never be sealed or entirely expunged in Arizona.
A clean criminal record can be claimed regardless of where you reside.
You are no longer charged with a DUI if you have a clean driving record.
However, let’s discuss a few exceptions.
The Arizona law only allows records expungement for minors under 18 who have been convicted of a crime.
A dismissal may be granted to someone whose DUI conviction has been overturned due to a change in behavior since their arrest.
Institutions, recruiters, and other organizations usually do not see it when performing routine background checks.
However, they will observe a dismissal for the then-existing DUI on a deeper inquiry.
Since your only criminal record is a DUI, you can claim that no other charges have been filed against you.
A clean criminal record, including an expunged DUI, improves your prospects of being hired, winning a scholarship, or being admitted to specific institutions and universities.
What About Your Driving Record?
If you have a DUI conviction set aside, it will not be erased from your driving record but will be less visible.
In Arizona, a DUI conviction results in an automatic 8-point violation of your license.
Even with the DUI being set aside, these points don’t go away immediately; only over time do they fade away.
It’s advisable to get the DUI done away with.
Following a DUI sentencing, there is a procedure that your DUI attorney must carry out, which will help streamline the whole process and improve your chances of getting your life back on track.
Government Jobs, Professionals, and Sensitive Occupations
Please note that select employers can still access deleted and set aside records.
When applying for a state or federal government job, you may be asked to reveal any criminal convictions you’ve had in the past.
Government employees can still see it even if a sentence is overturned or wiped by a court.
If you work with children, your expunged record will be under review.
There will also be access to information from professional licensing agencies for the legal and medical professions.
What Factors Do Arizona Courts Consider During A Set-Aside?
A judge in Arizona will weigh various circumstances while deciding whether or not to order a set-aside.
If a court grants a set-aside, it will take into account the following:
- The severity of the DUI conviction
- Whether or not the petitioner agreed with the court’s sentence guidelines.
- Time duration of the sentence imposed.
- The defendant’s actions will be considered after a conviction for a crime.
A judge will have the ability to overturn your conviction after considering all of the above factors.
The court will then accept your application after granting you the set-aside.
Individuals who want to expunge their criminal records must pay consistent fees and fines.
Adherence to the court’s guidelines should be followed and taken very seriously.
Setting Aside Your DUI Conviction
A few procedures must be completed before a DUI conviction can be expunged from one’s record, including the following:
- Completing a probationary period as instructed.
- All fees and penalties must be paid in full.
- Complying and attending court-ordered DUI classes online and other conditions, such as installing an Ignition Interlock Device.
That’s not all, as you will have to show the court that your DUI sentence’s conditions were met.
In addition, following a DUI conviction, most judges will also consider how clean your criminal record has been since the incident.
Use the services of a skilled DUI lawyer to help you plan and complete the expungement procedure.
If you want to have your conviction overturned, you’ll need to fill out and submit your paperwork to the Arizona Superior Court.
An attorney can provide you with all of the assistance necessary when it comes to overturning DUI convictions.
You can also initiate the set-aside process by completing the set-aside paperwork packet.
The Reality of Multiple DUI Convictions
Facing a single DUI conviction is challenging enough, but the reality of multiple DUI convictions amplifies the legal, personal, and societal repercussions exponentially.
Each subsequent DUI offense typically results in harsher penalties, escalating from fines and license suspension to mandatory jail time, extended probation, and long-term enrollment in DUI education programs.
Beyond the immediate legal consequences, individuals with multiple DUIs might find it increasingly difficult to secure employment, maintain professional licenses, or even rent housing due to the stigma and perceived unreliability.
Additionally, insurance premiums skyrocket, and in some cases, coverage might be outright denied.
The community’s perception of strained personal relationships and potential loss of personal freedoms make the reality of multiple DUI convictions a grave and life-altering concern.
It underscores the importance of addressing the root causes behind recurrent impaired driving and promptly seeking legal and therapeutic interventions.
Enhancing Your Chances for a Set Aside
While one might feel compelled to embark on the journey of obtaining a set aside independently, such a route is not always the wisest choice.
Just as you once relied on a DUI attorney to champion your legal defense during your initial DUI proceedings, you’ll require their expertise again to heighten the probability of achieving your desired relief.
This is rooted in the fact that a seasoned DUI lawyer possesses the knowledge and insight to guide you on the most effective presentation to the court, ensuring you align with factors the court deems pivotal.
Should the court decline your set aside petition, a dedicated attorney stands ready to file a motion for reconsideration.
Having your DUI record set aside is not bread and butter.
If you’ve found yourself with a DUI charge in Arizona, please get in touch with us at Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, AZ, to learn about our DUI Classes, which will help satisfy the requirements.
Additionally, if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, please contact us to start your healing journey.
We offer multiple services, including Court-Approved DUI Classes, Alcohol/DUI Assessments, Inpatient/Outpatient Alcohol Treatment, and more!
We are here and ready when you are. Let us help you today.