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How Long Does a DUI Stay On My Record in North Carolina?

A DUI arrest will stay on your record for a number of years, but it can be expunged so you may never need to disclose the information again. Whether the incident was in North Carolina or another state, it will show up during a background check by an employer or for other reasons such as applying for college. It is illegal to withhold employment because of a DUI conviction and if this happens, you should contact an attorney immediately.

The length that your criminal history stays on your record varies according to what kind of crime you committed and how serious it is. Some crimes are eligible for expungement, which means they never show up when someone does a background check.

North Carolina does not provide an expungement option for DUI arrests and the record will show up on a report as an arrest, even if you were never convicted. The more serious the charge, the longer it is reported to employers or anyone else who conducts a background check.

In North Carolina, you may be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. If you were found guilty of driving under the influence in North Carolina, this information will count against you in the eyes of the court for 10 years from when you paid all fines and completed any sentencing requirements such as community service hours or mandatory classes such as Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Program. If you are convicted of a DWI or DUI again, your prior conviction can be used against you if you are sentenced for another one. That said, the conviction will be on your record for the rest of your life.

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Look-Back Period in NC: Explained

The lookback period is the length of time that a court will take into account an offense in your case. In North Carolina, a look-back period of 10 years applies. The court will consider it a second violation if you commit another drunk driving offense within ten years of your initial DUI conviction.

Because North Carolina takes repeated driving after drinking very seriously, the look-back period is crucial. Second offenders within three years of a prior DUI conviction face fines up to $2,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years, plus a four-year license suspension. If you are convicted of DUI for the third time in 10 years, your driver's license will be revoked permanently.

You could face felony charges if you are convicted of four DWIs in a seven-year period. A conviction for habitual driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may result in a sentence of 12 months in jail, no right to appeal, permanent license revocation, required substance therapy, and the forfeiture of your car.

Can I Get My DUI Conviction Expunged?

Unfortunately, your DUI conviction can still come back to cause you trouble, even after the 10 year period has expired. This is because it stays on your record for the entirety of your life. DWI/DUIs are serious offenses that are explicitly excluded from North Carolina's relevant legislature. The only exceptions are if your DWI case is dropped or you are found not guilty at trial. If you were arrested for an offense that was later dismissed, you may ask the court to strike the charge from your record immediately, with no waiting period.

How Can I Apply for Expungement?

To have a DUI charge expunged, you must file a petition in the county where the offense was first filed. The court clerk will give you the required paperwork. There is no charge for removing DUI DWI convictions or not-guilty verdicts.

However, the procedure is somewhat difficult. A court reviews your paperwork and sends it to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, which will evaluate whether you are eligible for an expungement based on state law. The process begins with the petitioner taking his or her case to court and obtaining permission from the judge. After that, it returns to the SBI for completion. It may take nine months for your charge to be expunged from your criminal record. If you need help navigating the process contact a DUI attorney to help you.

Is It Possible For An Attorney To Help Shorten That Timeframe?

Since this process can take a really long time, it might be wise to hire a DUI attorney. An experienced defense lawyer will be able to guide you through the complicated expungement process and make sure that your paperwork is completed in a timely manner. Even after the charge has been removed from your record, it may still show up on certain background checks. A criminal defense attorney may also be able to help if any of your information is accidentally released, which has happened in the past.

Get In Touch With Our Team For The Best DWI & DUI Defense Lawyers In Raleigh

If you are facing charges for a DUI, please contact our North Carolina law office for help. Our experienced attorneys will be able to answer any questions you may have about your case and fight to get the best possible outcome in court. Call us today at  919-439-5104, or fill out the form below.