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Does a DUI Give You a Criminal Record in California?

Few things are worse than being pulled over and arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That said, it is one of the most common offenses we see here in the state of California. Since it is so common, you may wonder whether a DUI is technically considered a crime, and if, by extension, a conviction may warrant a criminal record. Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Tehama County DUI lawyer from Cohen Criminal Law to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Is a DUI a Crime in California?

The short answer is yes. A DUI is a criminal offense in California, and it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of your case. A misdemeanor DUI is the most common charge for first-time offenders, and it carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and up to six months of license suspension. A felony DUI is more serious and can result from having multiple prior DUI convictions, causing injury or death to another person, or having a prior felony DUI conviction. A felony DUI can lead to up to four years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to four years of license revocation. DUI charges are not to be taken lightly–fortunately, if you are reading this, you are in the right place.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record?

A DUI arrest history will stay on your record for only ten years in your driving record. On the other hand, it will remain permanently on your criminal record. This means that anyone who conducts a background check on you, such as employers, landlords, or lenders, can see that you have been convicted of a DUI. Rather obviously, this can significantly limit your opportunities and affect your reputation. For this reason, anyone facing DUI charges should absolutely hire a competent criminal defense attorney who can defend them from the start, or, at the very least, fight to have their record sealed.

Cohen Criminal Law has fought on behalf of those accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol for over three decades, and our firm is prepared to put that experience to work for you in your case as well. Contact us today so we can get started familiarizing ourselves with your case and devising a strong strategy on your behalf.