Will your DUI show on a background check? Many people know that being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) will impact their driving record for some time. However, they often fail to realize that the conviction will appear on their background checks as well, and can cause difficulties when applying for jobs, attempting to enter college, or attempting to rent a house.
How a DUI Impacts Your Driving Record
Upon conviction of a DUI in Colorado, you are assessed 12 points on your license for two years, and the DUI will stay on your driving record for ten years. The potential impacts of this include:
- An increase in insurance premiums over the course of the next two years as a result of the 12 points on your license.
- The risk of having your license suspended if, during the two years’ time, you are convicted of another traffic offense, regardless of whether that offense involves alcohol.
- A significant increase in insurance premiums if your license is suspended.
- Potential disqualification for jobs that involve driving as part of the position for at least 10 years as a result of the DUI on your driving record. Individuals who must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for work will be unable to receive or maintain one with a DUI in their driving history.
It is important to note that DUI license suspensions are administrative in nature. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver’s license even if the driver has not been convicted of DUI. Most employers — with the exception of those whose employment involves driving — do not look at the driving history of their prospective employees, meaning that the biggest impact of a DUI on a driving record of someone who is not a professional driver is often the increase in insurance.
How a DUI Impacts Your Criminal Record
Many people are surprised to learn that a DUI, commonly regarded as a traffic offense, can appear on their criminal history as well. This type of offense appears both on basic background checks conducted off a social security number — the type most often used by landlords and prospective employers — as well as comprehensive background checks, which are generally performed through a person’s fingerprint.
This is because, while DUI is an offense that often takes place in traffic, it is still a criminal offense for which — depending on the circumstances — the individual stands to be incarcerated.
Comprehensive background checks are also commonly used by employers, particularly in fields such as banking, education, health care, and other security-sensitive fields. This type of background check shows not only your arrest record, but your complete criminal history, including even crimes that an individual was arrested for but not convicted of.
Besides lost employment opportunities and difficulty securing housing, the other potential impacts of having a DUI show up on a criminal background check include:
- Harsher penalties for subsequent offenses. There is no “lookback period” for DUIs in Colorado’s criminal courts. What this means is that if you get another DUI or alcohol-related conviction thirty years from now, this DUI conviction will factor into the severity of your sentencing.
- Child custody issues. When determining custody, it is not uncommon for the court to consider the criminal histories of the parents in making a determination on the best interests of the child. While this is more often the case with offenses such as domestic violence, alcohol offenses can also give courts pause in custodial considerations.
Can You Get a DUI Removed from Your Criminal Record in Colorado?
In Colorado, a DUI cannot be removed from your criminal record, even if you receive a deferred judgment in exchange for a guilty plea. Further, because Colorado has no specified “lookback period” concerning DUIs in the consideration of future offenses, if you are convicted of a second DUI you can face harsher penalties, even if it has been many years since the original offense. In some cases, however, it is possible to get juvenile records — such as a DUI — sealed. What this does is allow those checking your background history to only see that an arrest occurred when you were a juvenile, but not what you were arrested for.
The Best Way to Prevent a DUI from Impacting Your Future
The best way to prevent a DUI from showing up on your background check is to not be convicted of a DUI. An experienced DUI attorney will assist you in determining if your rights were respected during the traffic stop, investigation, and arrest and that all of these law enforcement actions were properly performed according to the police department’s policies and procedures. If they were not, there is a potential for the case to be dismissed.
If your attorney is unable to get the case dismissed, they will at other options to reduce the severity of the consequences you face, including a plea bargain that will allow you to receive a lesser sentence or fewer consequences in exchange for a guilty plea. Often you will be asked to plead guilty to a lesser crime.