Accessing Your DUI Record
DUI records are, generally speaking, part of adult criminal record and a matter of public record. If someone was truly determined to find your drunk driving record, it is highly likely that they could do so successfully. In fact, local newspapers often publish recent DUI convictions in the community.
Of course, there are certain limitations on the release of your criminal record; however, in most cases, individual charges and their dispositions can be easily obtained. In addition, many employers use private investigative firms that collect criminal history data prior to hiring.
Some employers also require a copy of your driving record prior to hiring, which will reflect license suspensions associated with DUI charges or breathalyzer test refusals.
Are you worried about what might show up on your record? Were you recently charged with a DUI? Get answers from a DUI attorney today by filling out the form below.
By: Chris Kramer
Many courts have made their records accessible on the internet, making it significantly easier and less expensive to locate DUI convictions and other criminal case information. Some investigative agencies will make these compiled reports available to anyone who is willing to pay for them.
As such, information about criminal convictions is generally accessible to anyone who has the time and motivation to actively seek out that information.
What's on My Criminal Record?
Most criminal court activity is a matter of public record. You might think of your "criminal record" as a list of convictions, but public records are much more extensive. Once DUI or other criminal charges have been filed, an official record exists within the court system. That record may not disappear if charges are dismissed or if the defendant is acquitted at trial.
Depending on state laws and the reporting procedures of local prosecutors, charges that did not result in conviction may also appear in the national database. That means, for example, that a police officer checking a driver's record during a roadside stop may see charges even though they resulted in acquittal as well as criminal convictions.
Purposes of Criminal History Databases
The federal government collects information about many crimes and makes that information available to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country. The information may be used by law enforcement agencies to:
- Determine appropriate charges
- Make bail recommendations
- Make sentencing recommendations or negotiate plea agreements
- Screen potential employees
- Consider the reliability and impeachability of potential informants
- Narrow a pool of possible suspects in a criminal investigation
The database system also helps law enforcement agencies to enforce certain restrictive statutes, including limitations on the ability to purchase a handgun and restrictions on working in schools or residing in certain areas for those convicted of certain types of crime.
In the area of DUI and DWI law, criminal records serve another purpose in the enforcement of drunk driving laws. Nearly all U.S. states belong to a "driver's license compact" that requires reporting among states when citizens of one state are convicted of DUI.
That means that a DUI conviction in one state may still form the basis for treatment as a repeat offender in another. Also,a DUI conviction in a state other than the one where you live and are licensed can result in a driver's license suspension in your home state.
Who Else Sees My Record?
Outside of law enforcement, the most common use of criminal histories is in determining eligibility for employment or for certain educational programs. Sometimes a potential employer or a school - particularly those in licensed or bonded professions - will require an applicant to supply a copy of his or her criminal history as a part of the application process. In other cases, an employer will ask for authorization from an applicant to conduct a background check, and that background check may include both criminal history and credit information.
Accessing Your DUI Records
Many states have agencies that will provide consumers with copies of their criminal records for a small fee. These are sometimes required for employment or school applications, but are also useful for anyone with criminal charges in his background. If there are criminal charges on your record that were later dismissed, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to expunge those charges. Even convictions can be expunged in certain cases.
If your criminal history is limiting your options, you may be able to clean up your record. To speak with a DUI lawyer in your area who can evaluate your case, fill out our free case evaluation form or call 877-349-1311.