In Oklahoma, How Bad Is A DUI On Your Record?
There’s a lot to think about when you get a DUI. Your car could be impounded, and you could spend the night in jail. You probably know it’s serious, but it’s still normal to wonder, “How bad is a DUI on your record, really?” The truth is that it can have long-term consequences you might not even expect.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUIs
The first thing to consider is whether your DUI is a misdemeanor or a felony. Most first-time DUIs are misdemeanors in Oklahoma, including “aggravated DUIs,” which are when you blow a .15 or higher on a breathalyzer. But injuring someone, damaging property, or driving with a child in the car can turn a first-time DUI into a felony. If you have multiple DUIs within 10 years, the second DUI will be a felony, along with any more after that.
No matter what type of DUI you get, you’ll have to attend a victim’s impact panel, go to DUI school, and get regular drug and alcohol tests. You will also lose your driver’s license. So what’s the main difference between misdemeanor and felony DUIs? Misdemeanors carry lower maximum jail time and fines (up to one year and $1,000, versus five years and $2,500 for a felony). Also, you typically only lose your license for six months with a misdemeanor charge, but can lose it for up to eight years with a felony.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?
A DUI or DWI conviction will stay on your driving record for 10 years. However, it will stay on your criminal record forever unless you have it expunged, or sealed from public record. You can have both a felony and a misdemeanor expunged starting five years after the completion of your sentence, if you meet specific criteria. It will be more difficult to get a felony expunged, especially if you did jail time or had a previous felony conviction, but it may be possible.
How Bad Is a DUI on Your Record?
In the best-case scenario, you’ll have a DUI on your record for five years from the day you complete your sentence. There are certain areas of your life where this can have a big impact.
Not all employers in Oklahoma will ask about your criminal record–and per Executive Order 2016-03, state agencies aren’t allowed to. But this doesn’t apply to private businesses. This order also doesn’t apply if your DUI would affect your ability to do the job, for example, if it involves driving. Both state agencies and private businesses are still allowed to conduct background checks, so a DUI on your record can mess with your employment opportunities even if your employer doesn’t directly ask you about your record.
A DUI on your record can be bad when it comes to car insurance, too. As mentioned, a DUI stays on your driving record for 10 years, and it can’t be expunged. Insurance companies use your driving record to decide the amount of money you pay for insurance, which means a DUI can make that amount go up. It can even make you lose your insurance completely. According to insurance comparison site The Zebra, the average increase to your insurance premium after a DUI is 44% in Oklahoma. The good news is that you may be able to at least keep your license from being suspended, using the state’s Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP).
There’s no law preventing those with a criminal record from renting a house or apartment, but employers aren’t the only ones who run background checks. Landlords often check the background of potential tenants, and may not rent to those with a criminal record. While some landlords may be willing to overlook a misdemeanor DUI, a felony is more likely to disqualify you. If you’re apartment hunting, it’s probably best to inform a landlord up-front about your conviction and how you’re working to improve yourself.
Travel and Moving
How bad is a DUI on your record if you change states, either for travel or moving? Your DUI will show up on your driving record in any state you travel to, thanks to the Drivers License Compact, which is an agreement between states to share information about suspended licenses and traffic violations. (The only states that don’t participate are Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin.) Also, if you get a DUI while visiting another state, it will follow you back to your home state.
A DUI won’t directly appear on your credit report, but there are a few ways it can affect your overall financial situation and credit score. DUIs can be very expensive. You’ll have to pay fines that can be thousands of dollars, plus pay for your own education classes. You may have to pay fees for bail or your impounded car. You could be ordered to pay restitution if you harmed a person or property, which will remain on your record for seven years. And don’t forget you’ll pay more for insurance. It’s easy to rack up credit card bills you can’t pay while you’re dealing with a DUI. And, if you don’t pay your fines or restitution, you can be referred to a collection agency, which will directly affect your credit score.
How an Oklahoma DUI Lawyer Can Help
Ultimately, a DUI on your record is bad, but not life ending. The worst part is that even when your fines are paid and your classes are done, a DUI conviction can affect your employment opportunities, ability to rent a home, and more –- for years. A DUI lawyer can help you get a lower sentence, and might even be able to get your DUI dismissed. They can also help you get your DUI expunged when the time is right. Contact the Tulsa DUI Guy today to see how we can help you.