DUI dismissed

I was arrested for a DUI and in the end the charge was dismissed. Prior to the courts dismissal of the DUI I was ordered to attend a MADD lecture and do 30 hours of community service. Does this still count as a conviction to the USCG when I renew my documents? Thank you.


“Conviction means that the applicant for a merchant mariner credential has been found guilty, by judgment or plea by a court of record of the United States, the District of Columbia, any State, territory, or possession of the United States, a foreign country, or a military court, of a criminal felony or misdemeanor or of an offense described in section 205 of the National Driver Register Act of 1982, as amended (49 U.S.C. 30304). If an applicant pleads guilty or no contest, is granted deferred adjudication, or is required by the court to attend classes, make contributions of time or money, receive treatment, submit to any manner of probation or supervision, or forgo appeal of a trial court’s conviction, then the Coast Guard will consider the applicant to have received a conviction. A later expungement of the conviction will not negate a conviction unless the Coast Guard is satisfied that the expungement is based upon a showing that the court’s earlier conviction was in error.”

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See the definition of “conviction” posted above, it’s from 46 CFR 10.107. It sounds like it is a conviction. The only chance that it isn’t is who ordered the community service and MADD. If it was the Court, it’s a conviction. If it was a pre-trial remediation by the prosecutor’s office, it might not be. It would be more helpful; top give the actual title of the order. It probably isn’t a "dismissal’ it sounds more like a continuation without a finding or similar. Those are considered convictions.

Thank you for the responses. In the end I was found guilty of dry reckless, sentence suspended and after completion of terms that charge was dismissed. I will certainly disclose all of this to the NMC. Does it make any difference in renewal approval if it happened 4 years ago but was only resolved last year? Thanks again.

After looking over my papers again all counts were dismissed by the DA not the court. Would this make a difference to the NMC?

It might make a difference. The important detail is not who dismissed the charges, it’s whether your attendance at the program and community service were mandatory, and whether they were ordered by the Court. In the programs that aren’t convictions, the Defendant has the option of declining the program and going to trial.

It’s going to depend on the specifics of the case, and you are going to need to provide evidence to support it. If you don’t, they will see that you were ordered to do service and attend a program, and will have nothing to consider anything but a conviction.

This notwithstanding, that you were ordered community service makes it sound very much like a conviction as defined by the Coast Guard. I have never seen a non-conviction prosecutor discretion program that involved a punitive element like community service. All of those I have seen were strictly substance abuse treatment programs.

Did you have a lawyer? Did the lawyer know you are a merchant mariner, and did they research the impact of this decision on the ability to maintain your MMC?


Thank you for your insights, they are greatly appreciated. I have a call into my lawyer seeking additional clarification. Kind regards.

Needless to say, I’ve been kicking myself very hard for not doing the proper research myself. I did have an attorney and I was under the false assumption that they had done deeper research - I only stressed that I couldn’t have a conviction on my record. Dummy me didn’t know that the USCG interprets convictions the way they do, that even a dismissal can count as a conviction. My attorney was going to speak to the D.A. assigned to my case - it was both their intentions that my USCG credential not be affected negatively. Would the Coast Guard view things differently if the case was “set aside” by the court"? (I don’t even know if a dismissed case can be set aside - I’m grasping at straws.) Any suggestions? Would a letter from the D.A. help? Trying to salvage what I can before renewing. Any suggestions are appreciated. Hopefully others will learn from my mistake.

It’s probably too late to change the outcome. From the definition of “conviction” referenced above “A later expungement of the conviction will not negate a conviction unless the Coast Guard is satisfied that the expungement is based upon a showing that the court’s earlier conviction was in error.”

You may have actionable issues with your attorney if you made it clear that you are a merchant mariner holding credentials issued by the Coast Guard that could be affected by the outcome of your case. You shouldn’t have had to do your own research, that’s what you were paying your attorney to do.


Would you mind clarifying “actionable issues”.

“actionable” historically means giving grounds for a lawsuit. Recently (thirty years?) also meaning able to be acted upon, such as advice. In this case, the first.


That’s what I figured just wanted confirmation. What a mess I’ve gotten myself into…Thanjs for the clarification.

Get a copy of your state driving record online and see what it says. The USCG does not contact every courthouse in America, they check the National driver’s registry. I don’t know if the USCG uses the national criminal database (I forget what it’s called) Get a copy of those records too, and see what they say. Then you will know what the USCG can find.

A good criminal lawyer in your area will know the court rules, the DA, and the judge, and whether there might be some way to challenge or modify your conviction at this point in time.

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You may be referring to the NCIC - National Crime Information Center

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Thank you Lee Shore and Tug Sailor. I have my dmv p/o - all clear there. Just requested a criminal check thru my states Dept. of Justice. Thanks for the good tips.

If the NCIC and National driver registry do not show a “conviction” for DUI, I doubt that you were ever “convicted” of DUI. NCIC should show an “arrest” for DUI. I assume it must show some type of resolution of the DUI charge.

Whatever you find out, get good legal advice about it.

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Not necessarily. It’s not a perfect system. Access to the NCIC database is restricted to government agencies such as law enforcement, not available to the public.

Whatever you find out, get good legal advice about it.

Maybe your lawyer knows a friend who has a friend…

If it doesn’t, you can expect to be asked to provide information about the resolution, and it will likely prompt an attempt to corraborate your account of the resolution.

Maybe, but not likely. If they failed to spot the issue of what the Coast Guard considers to be a conviction, they probably don’t have friends with connections to Coast Guard S&R types. If you have license insurance, those guys might know some one.

Actually, the above was someone else’s suggestion

Here is my suggestion: You might start by asking your DUI defense lawyer to ask the DA that resolved your case to check your NCIC record. He has access to it. Checking to see if the matter is reported on NCIC as he intended, and agreed with your defense lawyer, that would be a proper use of the system.

If you have license insurance, you should call them for assistance. If you don’t have license insurance, Call them anyway and ask them for a referral to a lawyer for an uncovered USCG licensing matter. The license insurance lawyers are probably best equipped to help you navigate through this “conviction” issue for your renewal. There is no substitute for top notch legal advice.

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