Will My DUI Charge Be Permanent? Dealing With a Charge On Your Record

Phoenix DUI Lawyers of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC

Picture this: You are applying for a job to get back on your feet. You are almost through the tenuous application, and then the dreaded background check question comes up.  If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you have probably at least mulled over the question of whether the charge is a permanent blot on your record and whether or not it matters. Can that charge ever be removed?

Can I erase my DUI Record?

A DUI is a criminal conviction. In Arizona, there are two places where your DUI record will be kept – by the Supreme Court and the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (ADOT MVD).1 You can check your MVD record at servicearizona.com.

While your record cannot be expunged, you can file a motion to set aside your conviction in Arizona. The judge can then consider your application and may release you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from your conviction except in certain situations. A.R.S. § 13-907.

What does a set-aside do as opposed to an expungement?

Expunging or erasing your record is an available option in some states. To expunge a record  means your record is erased and no longer exists.2 In Arizona, they are synonymous. While a set-aside cancels or revokes the judgment or order, the original conviction may still be available.3

To properly “expunge” or set-aside your record in Arizona you will need to complete your sentence first.4 Of course, some crimes will not be set aside, such as those involving minors under 15 years old or crimes of serious physical injury.5 A.R.S. § 13-907.

If you have been arrested but not convicted, expungement in Arizona basically eliminates the official record of the arrest. A.R.S. § 13-4051. There is not much case law on this subject, so it is best to consult a Phoenix attorney who knows what to do in this situation.

What does a set-aside do for my future?

Successfully setting aside your DUI record will not completely get rid of it, but it will increase your chances of receiving a job or gain back any other rights that have been revoked (such as the right to vote).6 This is because once a motion to set aside has been granted, you can write on any non-government application that the conviction has been dismissed.7 A set-aside would also ease your worries about even having a DUI record. Although it does not help too much with government jobs or licenses, it does help in private practice.


[1] James Nesci, Can A DUI Conviction Be Expunged In Arizona?, duinewsblog.com (Aug. 15, 2013), http://duinewsblog.org/2013/08/15/can-dui-conviction-be-expunged-in-arizona/.

2 Setting Aside Convictions and Restoring Civil Rights, azlawhelp.org, http://azlawhelp.org/articles_info.cfm?mc=13&sc=66&articleid=147 (last visited Oct. 7, 2014).

3 Id.

4 Arizona Expungement, expungementguide.com, http://expungementguide.com/Arizona-Expungement.php (last visited Oct. 7, 2014).

5 Id.

6 Id.

7 Vladimir Gagic, Arizona Expungement under ARS 13-4051 and Set Aside of Convictions under ARS 13-907, azcriminallawsexcrimes.com (Aug. 30, 2013), http://www.azcriminallawsexcrimes.com/criminal-procedure-and-trials/arizona-expungement-under-ars-13-4051-and-set-aside-of-convictions-under-ars-13-907/.