If a judge convicts you of driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Georgia, the DUI mark on your record will follow you relentlessly into the future.
However, if you qualify, a new law allows the court to put paid to your misdemeanor by approving the sealing of your record.
Effects of DUI
Under the laws in Georgia, almost any convictions you might have will remain on your record forever and disrupt your future plans. For example, employers and landlords routinely run background checks on applicants. Therefore, if you have a DUI conviction, finding new employment or renting the apartment you want may be difficult. A DUI mark on your record will also disqualify you from obtaining the state licensing or certification required for careers in certain fields such as law or medicine.
In 2020, the Georgia General Assembly passed a law approving record sealing for those convicted of misdemeanors. Once you complete your sentence, you are eligible to petition to have your record sealed as long as there are no additional convictions nor pending charges against you. If the court approves, your DUI conviction will no longer appear during a background check.
Keep in mind that while most employers will not see your DUI conviction once the record is sealed, it will still be visible in certain situations, notably to employers who serve the elderly, children, people who are mentally impaired and other vulnerable populations. It will also be visible to law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Nevertheless, the new Georgia record-sealing law puts your misdemeanor in a more positive light and paves the way for the bright future you might not otherwise have had.