Sunday, August 31, 2014

When does a Bad Driving Record Become Good?

Driving Histories Can Stay With You
Longer Than Criminal Records

I was recently asked by a person with a DWI (less than 2 years ago) what should they should answer on an employment application if they are asked?"

"Do You have a Good Driving Record?"

My answer: I think it would depend upon the job and duties. If it were a job that involved driving, then my answer might be never. The DWI/DUI/OUI is going to be there on a background check for a long time. In NYS it would be there on your lifetime DMV history for your lifetime. In other states like PA, it's at least 10 years, and even then with a little digging or the government it wouldn't be hard to find it.

Why, possibly NEVER?

An employer is concerned about their insurance costs overall. The cost of getting you insured under a corporate auto/truck policy may be ridiculous. If someone had merely speeding tickets and/or other moving violations then these would be more time dependent (how long ago), and age dependent (how old were you then, how old are you now). Things that happened when you were in your teens or early twenties may be forgiven by the time you reach your thirties.

NYS Plea Bargain Look Back Periods

For plea bargain purposes on new tickets and/or moving violations the usual prosecutorial (District Attorney) look back period is 18 months. The NYS DMV holds stuff against you on points and/or speeds for 18 months as well. BUT caution thinking you are safe after 18 months because with more serious traffic offenses accumulated over time, this 18 month look back may not even matter.

Serious Traffic Infractions

Speeds of 15mph or more
Reckless Driving
Unsafe Lane Change
Following Too Closely
License Suspensions and Revocations

What About Cleaning Your driving Record in States with Youthful Offender Status (NYS), ARD (PA), Expungement (PA), and Sealing of DUI/DWI/OUI Records?

NYS has special YO (youthful offender) status for crimes committed before the age of 19. DWI criminal convictions are vacated, and closed for public scrutiny BUT your DMV license history will still show the DWI.

PA has ARD (accelerated rehabilitative disposition) which will get rid of a first DUI criminal conviction and expunge it from your criminal history BUT your PA DOT license history will still show the DUI for 10 years.

Administrative Histories and Punishments Will Linger for a Long Time

Remember that even in states that clean up criminal court histories, and records your driving history is another story. License records and histories will always reveal Administrative sanctions. With national internet databases these records will reveal past license suspensions, license revocations, and actions.

As they say, "time heals all wounds." 

Always remember to consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

Reviews of Larry Newman:

Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers