A DUI conviction can impact your life in many ways. Whether your charges have just been filed or you have a final judgment of conviction, you’re probably already aware of some ways that a DUI can make your life more difficult.
That can leave you wondering how long a DUI conviction stays on your record in South Carolina. Is it going to be there forever? Will it affect you forever? The Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC criminal defense attorneys explain how long you can expect a DUI to stay on your record in South Carolina.
How long does a DUI stay on your record in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, a DUI stays on your criminal record forever. It stays on your traffic record for 10 years.
Why does a DUI stay on your record forever in South Carolina?
A DUI stays on your criminal record forever in South Carolina because there is no procedure for its removal. As far as your traffic record is concerned, the state uses a 10-year lookback period. If your conviction is more than 10 years old, it is probably not going to appear in a traffic record search.
Can You Expunge a DUI in South Carolina?
A South Carolina DUI conviction cannot be expunged. Unfortunately, it is on your record for life. This is the case even if you’re found not guilty or the charges are dismissed. This may change in the future, but legislation must be passed.
(South Carolina Judicial Branch FAQs About Expungements)
Why Can’t DUIs Be Expunged in South Carolina?
South Carolina expungement laws are limited when it comes to traffic offenses. The Uniform Expungement of Criminal Records law for South Carolina lists offenses that may be raised in an application for expungement. Traffic offenses do not appear on the list of eligible offenses.
Source: S.C. Code § 17-22-910
How is a Prior DUI Conviction Going to Affect Me?
You probably don’t need to be told that a DUI conviction is going to affect you for a long time. As you try to make the best of it, it’s important to understand how a DUI is going to impact you in the future.
It’s true – the DUI will stay on your criminal record forever. However, the impact on your life will lessen over time. Here are the ways that you can expect your impact your life over time:
In the short term
Immediately after a DUI conviction, you must comply with your DUI judgment. That may mean serving a jail sentence, paying a fine, having your license suspended and complying with probation. The terms vary based on your prior criminal history, your bodily alcohol content at the time of arrest and the circumstances of your conviction. There may be additional penalties if you failed to comply with a request for an alcohol test at the time of the arrest.
Remember, these penalties apply only if you are convicted of the offense. It’s always best to aggressively fight for the best possible outcome as soon as you realize that you are facing charges. Our experienced DUI attorneys can represent you.
In addition to the penalties imposed directly by the court, there may be additional consequences. A DUI conviction may impact your employment. Serving a term in jail can prevent you from getting to work. Your employer may decide to terminate you, which is allowed in South Carolina. A DUI conviction may also impact your immigration status, causing you to be deportable or inadmissible.
Up to 10 Years following the conviction
In the years following your DUI, the offense will continue to remain on your driving record. You can expect your insurance rates to increase considerably, by more than $100 per month. You will need to complete and submit an SR-22 form to the DMV to confirm that you have the required car insurance.
If you get another DUI within 10 years, you will face enhanced penalties. A second offense DUI charge carries a penalty of 5 days to 1 year in jail. If you have a high bodily alcohol content, the penalties are even higher.
A DUI can also impact a professional license. You may need to report the conviction to the body that issued your license.
In the long term
In the long term, a DUI stays on your record forever. However, over time, it will disappear from your traffic record. Your insurance rates will become less affected over time. After 10 years, another DUI offense may be charged as a first offense. It’s important not to have additional violations to allow you to put the incident behind you.
In some ways, the DUI offense stays with you forever. In other ways, you can expect things to get better over time as you move on with your life and the DUI is in the distant past.
How Can a DUI Prevent You From Having a Commercial Driver’s License in South Carolina?
A CDL holder loses their commercial license for one year following a DUI or DUAC (Driving Unlawful Alcohol Content) conviction. Even a breath test of .04% or higher or an alcohol test refusal is disqualifying from a CDL for one year.
A person with a prior DUI shouldn’t be disqualified from getting their commercial driver’s license because of the DUI alone. However, it might make it much harder to get a job that requires a CDL.
Source: SC DMV, Commercial Licenses
Lawyers to Address a DUI on Your Record
Are you facing DUI charges? Our criminal defense lawyers know just how much a DUI can impact you. However, there are things that you can do. Our lawyers can help you fight back against your DUI in the best possible way. Knowing the ways that a DUI can impact you, we’re prepared to take the right steps on your behalf to address the charges and minimize the consequences that you face.
Good people get DUIs. But you can fight back. Contact us today to start working on your case.