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How to bounce back from a dui conviction

Author: Nickey Williams
Published: Jan 15 2013

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol can do significant harm to an individual driving record and criminal history, but the record can be cleared over a period of time. Bouncing back from the stigma of a conviction for impaired driving can be a long process. This requires a reassessment of priorities for the convicted driver, along with a plan to modify personal behavior. All state courts have enhanced the punishments associated with driving under the influence, and a defendant who actually wants to change their pattern of behavior should use the information acquired during punishment phase to their best advantage. There are also some legal steps that can be taken after a specific period of time, contingent on certain criteria.

Alcoholic Driver's Education

All states have added driver education to the structured punishment for driving under the influence. Every convicted driver is required to attend and complete an alcoholic driver's education program of some length. If it is the first offense a DUI normally only carries a 30-day driving privilege suspension period. During this time the defendant must complete the short-term ADE program. Multiple offenders are usually required to attend a weekly or monthly class. Some states even require attendance at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on a regular basis. The information provided in these requirements can help the defendant immensely in changing behavior and taking an inventory of personal priorities. It is important to remember that consuming the alcohol is not the problem. The problem is the behavior that stems from that consumption. It is a thinking problem, as opposed to a drinking problem.

Take It Seriously

Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a good decision. Many individuals think they can drink small amounts of alcohol and still drive successfully. However, the definition of success may just be the ability to get home without being pulled over by the local authorities. A convicted DUI driver that is serious about changing behavior will stop drinking and driving completely. It is too easy to find someone else to drive, or even take a cab when possible. It is a little known fact that most accidents occur close to home. An accident involving a drunk driver always results in the fault assessment on the impaired driver. As mentioned at, "In every case it is best to choose an attorney with experience working specifically on DUI cases," so if found in this position one would be guided properly. Some states have new laws called the tiered approach to driving under the influence that allows the driver an opportunity to evaluate their behavior and adjust appropriately. Using the punishment stage to the defendant's best advantage can be a positive result of this phase of rehabilitation.

What About Expungement?

All states allow for expunging a driving record in some manner. The conviction automatically comes off of the official driving record after a specific period of time, but the criminal history is different. Clearing the criminal record require petitioning the court for expungement, which is a sealing of the record. The conviction is not removed, but it is no longer a public record. State authorities can still access the information, but the lapsed time period is usually consistent with state limitation statutes. The conviction can be successfully sealed, but the defendant must have no subsequent charges. Most states also require all fines for any charge be paid in full, regardless of the incident. A clean record means exactly what is says.

Bouncing back from a DUI conviction can be accomplished, but the convicted driver must take the charge seriously and make definite steps to stop unacceptable behavior. Learning from personal mistakes is an important part of life, and those who do not are usually condemned to repeat those mistakes.

Nickey Williams is a teacher and a writer with a love of bringing more awareness to human rights. Many people feel defenseless when they have been detained for DUI charges, especially due to the severe impact a conviction may have on their lives and future careers. The Law Offices of Steve E. Kellis at can help to educate you on the DUI process, and make certain you understand that you do have rights in this situation.

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