California has several unfortunate consequences for a DUI conviction. The penalties depend on the number of prior convictions for a similar offense on your criminal record. A lot of people are aware of these consequences but don’t know what to expect after the sentence. At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we are there for our clients during and after the verdict. Our local Riverview DUI Attorney has highlighted some of the things you should expect after a drunk driving conviction.
DUI and Employment Background Checks
A DUI charge, whether it ends with a conviction or not, can adversely affect your career. Notably, commercial drivers or people who depend on driving as a source of livelihood suffer most when their licenses are suspended. After a suspension, you have to say goodbye to your work until the license is reinstated. Even after CDL is reinstated, getting back your job or finding a new one will be an uphill job.
Business owners can run background checks on existing or prospective workers for various reasons, some of which are legal while others are not. When running the checks, an employer might come across a DUI charge or sentencing on your record. However, California has statutes that limit an employer’s ability to do background checks. Even if they come across a criminal record during the inspections, the law prohibits them from considering criminal records when deciding to hire or fire a worker.
Federal Limits on Background Checks
All states in the U.S. are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations. But these provisions apply to background checks conducted outside the business and not in-house. FCRA makes it illegal to report a criminal arrest after seven years. But for criminal convictions like DUI, there is no time limit for reporting. The restrictions imposed by the Act only apply to jobs with a salary not exceeding 75,000 dollars a year.
Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful for employers to deny prospective employees job opportunities based on criminal convictions. However, they can bar employment where they feel that such a record will affect their way of doing business. The interpretation of the Act by federal courts often conflicts with state laws. After a DUI, a prospective employee will not know what goes behind the scene after applying for the job. It is not clear if the DUI record will bar employment or not.
California Laws Restrictions on Background Checks
California enacted the Ban the Box Law on January 1, 2020, prohibiting business owners from asking about prospective employees' criminal records until later stages of recruitment. The law aims to prevent employers from asking employees if they have had a criminal conviction and instead focus on skills and competency. The rule applies to business owners, both private and public, with more than five employees.
California Labor Code 432.7 also prohibits employers from asking employees about their criminal arrests or sentencing. DUI offenders are also provided with rehabilitation certificates which they present to potential employers to lift barriers to employment.
Similarly, after completing probation for a drunk or drugged driving conviction, you can register a petition to withdraw your plea or set aside the verdict so that business owners who run background checks don’t find anything on your record.
Take note that persons running for public office in Riverview must disclose a drunk driving conviction or any other criminal sentencing from the past 120 months. During recruitment, you must respond to direct questions regarding your DUI arrest or conviction.
State laws also require that background checks be conducted on applicants seeking jobs that involve children, senior citizens, and the disabled. However, this doesn’t mean that a DUI record will bar you from employment, but it will be put into account during the final decision because it is considered a character flaw.
Commercial drivers facing drinking and driving charges are barred from using their CDL for a certain period as punishment. Remember, a DUI conviction for a commercial driver will stay on the record for 55 years, so try and avoid it by hiring a Riverview DUI Attorney for legal defense.
How Background Checks are Conducted
Your driving records, vehicle registration, court records, jail or prison sentence records, criminal records, and character references are included in an official background check. Some of the information will be contained in the pre-employment questionnaire or during the application. Some employers will ask about past felony charges or any recent criminal conviction.
You should not be embarrassed about these questions. Disclose everything they might want to know about your DUI conviction because lying might get you disqualified.
Keep in mind that the internet has made things easier. You can get all the information you need on a person online by checking public records or social media sites like Facebook. Although your DUI arrest might not appear on your Facebook account, employers can get a lot of information there even without asking. Therefore, though you might be against a background check, an employer can do it without your knowledge.
DUI and Insurance
After a DUI, another thing you will have to deal with is an increase in insurance rates. When you are accused of drinking and driving, you have many reasons to get worried. One of these reasons is that your insurance rates will be affected. The adverse effects of sentencing extend beyond incarceration, fines, and license suspension. Insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver even after you have served your punishment. For this reason, they might cancel your current insurance policy or drop your coverage. For you, this means that you will have to go out there and shop for new coverage.
After a DUI conviction, you must obtain an SR-22 form from your insurer. SR-22 forms are essential because they prove to the Department of Motor Vehicles that you carry liability insurance coverage. The form is necessary if you want the suspension on your license lifted.
When you request this form from your insurer, it will be a red flag about a drunk driving conviction. SR-22 forms also require insurance companies to inform the DMV anytime they are planning on canceling coverage because of a DUI arrest or sentence.
Remember that not every insurer out there provides the SR-22 forms. Others will cancel your coverage when they discover you have a sentence on your record.
When your insurer learns about your DUI arrest or sentence, your insurance rates might also increase. Because drunk driving offenses aren’t equal, insurance will review each case at a time to determine how they will change your insurance premium rates. If it’s your first DUI, your premiums may not be affected significantly. However, for a repeat offender, the premiums increase exponentially, and, in some cases, insurers might deny you coverage. There is a statute of limitations for insurers to increase the rates for DUI offenders. As such, even if they don’t learn about your conviction right away, they will have time to raise the premiums, and this might go as far as affecting your life insurance premiums.
Poor communication between the DMV and court cleared sentencing, or a reduced charge might delay the time when the insurer learns about the conviction. The SR-22 form is what allows many insurers in Riverview to discover a client as a DUI. But in states where these forms are not necessary when reinstating a license, the insurer may have no way of finding out if you have a DUI. In case you have a concern about how a sentence for drinking and driving will affect your insurance premiums, talk to an attorney.
After being sentenced for a DUI, the conviction goes to your criminal record even after completing your punishment. The two things that are significantly affected by your criminal records are your insurance premiums and your ability to get a job. Fortunately, DUI offenders can benefit from expungement, which involves erasing the file such that even when an employer runs background checks, the record comes out clean.
An expungement, also known as expunction, is erasing a conviction from your criminal record. However, not everyone is eligible for expunction. Both misdemeanor and felony drunk driving convictions can be expunged. But for expunction to happen under a felony conviction, you must petition the court to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor so that it can be erased. The process of expunction involves petitioning the court for a dismissal. If the petition is granted, the court reopens your case and dismisses the charge.
Although the record is cleared, it doesn’t mean there will be no traces of your sentencing. For this reason, when employers inquire about your criminal history after expunction, instead of telling them you have never been convicted, you can say that you were formally accused of drunk driving, but the charges were dismissed. That way, even if they find traces of the conviction, they will know you are not lying.
Conditions for Expunction
As mentioned earlier, not everyone is eligible for expungement. Anyone sentenced for a felony or misdemeanor drunk driving can have the record sealed if:
- Your sentence didn’t consist of prison incarceration
- You are not presently facing any criminal charges
- You have served all your penalties inclusive of probation
- You served time in prison but would have served jail time under proposition 47
If you meet the above conditions, you should contact your Riverview DUI Attorney so that you can petition the court. The court, meaning the judge, will review the petition to decide on your eligibility. Once the motion is granted, two things can happen. One is that you will withdraw your no contest or guilty pleas and plead not guilty. If it is the court that found you guilty on a jury or bench trial, the judgment by the court will be set aside. Once any of these things happen, the court then dismisses the case.
The main advantage of having the sentence erased is that it lifts barriers of employment. Once the conviction is off your record, a business owner cannot use it against you during hiring, firing, or promotion. But note that an expunction will not help you when to apply for a state license or teaching permits.
When seeking license or credential grant or renewal, the state licensing board will still access your record and use it against you. Despite this, an expunction will make your application more favorable.
Take note that if your license was suspended, whether temporarily or permanently, an expunction will not overturn the decision to suspend or revoke your license.
Another limitation of the DUI expunction is that drunk driving is priorable. This means that even if you clear the record for the sentence if you are charged with a similar offense for a subsequent time, the previous conviction will be used to enhance the penalties for the present sentencing. In layman’s language, if you get a DUI expunged today and tomorrow you are arrested for the same offense, the state will consider you as a second offender. You will be subject to second drunk or drugged driving penalties.
In some incidences where you are sentenced to probation after a drinking and driving sentence but feel that the record is affecting you a lot, you can request the court to grant you early termination of probation. Probation can last up to three years, which is a long time considering the adverse effects that come with the arrest or sentence. And since completing probation is one of the conditions for expungement, once probation is terminated, you will be treated similarly to a person who completed the probation period meaning you can erase the record.
Getting an early termination of probation is a complex process. Your and your Riverview DUI Attorney must petition the court for the termination. Whether or not the petition will be granted is in the hands of the judge. The request may be granted if you complete the terms of probation, including fines, restitution to victims in case there was an accident and DUI classes. Besides, the court will consider you for early termination if:
- You want to travel to see a sick family member
- You want to secure a meaningful employment
- You want to make career advancements like a job promotion
Despite there being a chance for early termination of probation, courts are usually reluctant to grant parole. They do this because DUI laws aim at discouraging drunk driving with a considerable amount of alcohol in the body. By allowing an early termination, they will be encouraging drunk driving because there will be no rules bounding you to sober driving. For this reason, they prefer when you are bound by these terms for a long time, which is why they may not be willing to let you off the hook by early termination of probation.
Getting Legal Assistance
An expunction of a drunk driving arrest or conviction means a lot for anyone who wants to clear their name from criminal history. But the process of expunction and being eligible for the legal process isn’t an easy one.
Take note that even if you qualify for an expunction, your petition might be denied by the judge. Again, there may be many unnecessary expenses and miscommunication if you decide to undertake the process on your own. For this reason, you need a Riverview DUI Attorney to provide legal help as you navigate this process that comes after a DUI. Even after sealing your record, correction officials, courts, and police officers will still access these records. A successive conviction for a similar offense in California will result in the resurrection of the expunged record, meaning you will be back where you began. Therefore, if you are considering expungement, consider retaining the services of an attorney with experience in this field.
Expunction is suitable for immigrants because to get the necessary documents from the Department of Immigration, you will need a clean criminal record. This court-ordered process can help a DUI offender in multiple ways. The problem is that you might work so hard to have the record sealed but fail to solve the issues that come with a drunk driving arrest or sentence. For this reason, you should speak to a Riverview DUI Attorney so that they can help you determine whether having a criminal record expunged will help with your current situation. If an expunction is not the answer, the attorney will help you find other ways of resolving your issues.
Remember, expunction is viewed by many as a discretionary action by the judge even though you qualify for the process and meet the necessary conditions. On top of having legal help, you need to have fewer arrests or convictions. The court also puts into account the statements by the parole officer, prison authorities, and rehabilitation officers. An attorney will help you make all these considerations to make the process of expunction as smooth one and resourceful.
Find a Drinking and Driving Attorney Near Me
Many people in Riverview assume that after a conviction or end of a DUI case, they don’t need to retain the services of an attorney. However, legal professionals prove very useful after a DUI, especially with the expunction process. Call the San Diego DUI Attorney today at 619-535-7150 if you want proper DUI defense and legal assistance after a DUI charge.