When it comes to criminal offences, a common question is “How long does a DUI stay on your record?”. Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while impaired (DWI), is a serious offence that can have lasting consequences on your criminal record. In Alberta, not all impaired driving charges lead to a criminal record; however, if you have received multiple IRS: FAIL administrative penalties, or if there are other aggravating circumstances, you may be charged with a criminal offence. Read on for the details of how long a DUI stays on your record in Canada and what it means for your future.
Understanding DUI Charges in Alberta
In Alberta, impaired driving offences are taken seriously and can lead to substantial administrative penalties. Alberta’s Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) program has five key sections, IRS: 24 Hours, IRS: Novice, IRS: Commercial, IRS: WARN, and IRS:FAIL. You can read more about the IRS program here. If you are driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, you could possibly also receive a criminal charge for the penalty.
In Canada, impaired driving offences, including DUIs, are governed by the Criminal Code of Canada. Convictions for impaired driving can lead to significant penalties including fines, licence suspensions, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence and whether it’s a first-time or repeat offence. However, the impact of a DUI charge goes beyond the immediate penalties; it also affects your criminal record and can have consequences for various aspects of your life.
When you’re charged and convicted of a criminal DUI offence in Alberta, it becomes a part of your criminal record. This record is maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and can be accessed by law enforcement agencies, employers, and other authorized individuals. A DUI conviction can potentially impact your ability to travel, obtain employment, secure housing, and even affect your insurance rates.
The duration for which a DUI conviction remains on your criminal record in Alberta varies based on the type of conviction and the nature of the offence. As of my last update in September 2021, the following guidelines apply:
For a DUI conviction classified as a summary offence, the conviction will remain on your criminal record forever unless you obtain a Pardon. The conviction will remain for a minimum of 5 years from the date of the conviction, which includes serving any probation, paying fines, and completing other requirements.. This means that after 5 years have passed, the conviction may be eligible for a record suspension, or Pardon, which can seal the conviction from public view for some purposes.
If your DUI conviction is classified as an indictable offence (more serious), the conviction will remain on your criminal record for a minimum of 10 years from the date of the conviction before it can be considered for a record suspension. Otherwise, it is there forever.
It’s important to note that a record suspension doesn’t erase the conviction from your record; it simply seals it from public view for some purposes. Law enforcement agencies and certain other entities may still have access to your complete criminal record even after a record suspension.
A record suspension, often called a pardon, doesn’t erase the conviction from your record. Instead, it allows you to have your criminal record sealed from public access for some purposes. This could improve your prospects in terms of employment, housing, and other opportunities.
To apply for a record suspension in Alberta, you would need to go through a formal process, which may include gathering documents, paying fees, and meeting specific eligibility criteria.
If you’ve been charged with a criminal DUI offence in Alberta, seeking legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial. They can guide you through the legal process, help you understand the potential consequences of a conviction, and explore options for reducing or dismissing the charges. Additionally, they can provide insights into the specific laws and regulations in your province that pertain to DUI offences and criminal records.
A DUI conviction and having a criminal record can have lasting effects on life. The duration of time it remains on your record depends on the nature of the offence and the province in which it occurred. While a record suspension might be available after a certain waiting period, it’s essential to remember that seeking legal advice and understanding your rights are vital steps to navigate the complexities of DUI charges and their impact on your future.
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence for driving under the influence in Alberta, it’s essential that you contact Brian McGlashan.