How Long Does DUI Stay on Record? Best US Practices & All You Need

How long does DUI stay on record

A DUI will often remain on your driving record for five to ten years. However, it’s challenging to offer general guidance on DUIs because every state approaches them differently. But, bear the following in mind when you read about how your state handles DUI accusations or convictions:

  • Most states track your driving using a point system. The state DMV deducts points from your license when you engage in a driving infraction. Your license could be suspended if you accumulate enough points.
  • When calculating the cost of your insurance coverage, insurance companies look at your driving record points. Insurance costs rise as license points increase.

Essentially, some states that employ a point system award points for DUIs, while others choose to impose more severe punishments. Those states may automatically suspend your license or punish you after a DUI instead of awarding you points.
Each state imposes a different amount of license points for a DUI.

Additionally, where you live affects how long those points remain on your license. It’s a certain number of years in some states. In some states, you can reduce your point total year without committing a traffic infraction.

Meanwhile, in the course of this post, we will find details concerning different states when it comes to how long DUI can stay on your record as well as other vital pieces of information.

How Long Does DUI Stay on Record: Overview

Generally, a DUI not only affects your legal situation but also tarnishes your driving record. In most states, a DUI affects your driving record for five to ten years. You can even have a DUI on your driving record for the rest of your life, depending on where you reside.

That’s significant since having a DUI on your driving record might lead to a number of issues in the future. This includes escalating insurance costs, SR-22 documentation requirements, and employment challenges.

A DUI leaves a blemish on your criminal record in addition to your driving record. That can come with jail time and expensive fines.

But in this case, there is a significant distinction between a criminal record and a driving record. If you don’t have the charge reduced, delayed, expunged, or sealed, a DUI typically remains on your criminal record for life.

What is a DUI?

Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is referred to as DUI/DWI. The medications might be legal, illegal, or prescribed. Although a DUI is normally a misdemeanor, repeat offenders may face felony charges in some states.

In most cases, blood alcohol content (BAC) testing is used to identify drunk driving. And depending on your state, several things may be over the limit. For instance, whereas the legal limit in the majority of states is 0.08 percent BAC, Utah has decreased its limit to 0.05 percent for drivers over 21.

Furthermore, depending on other conditions, your state’s legal limit might even be lower. For instance, if you are under 21 or on probation for a DUI, it is prohibited to drive in California with a BAC of 0.01 percent or more.

Meanwhile, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established a 0.04 percent legal limit if you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are driving a commercial vehicle. Your non-commercial driver’s license may also be impacted if you are found guilty of DUI while operating a commercial vehicle.

Note: There is a distinction between a DUI and DWI in several states (driving while intoxicated or impaired). An "impairment," for instance, might be brought on by drugs, alcohol, tiredness, or other circumstances.

Car Insurance and DUI

Here are some DUI car insurance possibilities in case your current auto insurance provider drops you or you have difficulties acquiring a regular auto insurance policy due to DUI records:

Compare Prices:

Till you’ve tried every possible alternative, don’t give up on purchasing insurance in the “voluntary” market. You might be able to acquire coverage because not all auto insurance companies view DUI convictions the same way. Before considering other possibilities, it is a good idea to compare auto insurance rates from various providers.

Nonstandard Car Insurance

High-risk drivers who are unable to obtain a normal coverage, such as those with DUI convictions, may need to check into nonstandard auto insurance. Although the plans are more expensive, these insurers specialize in high-risk drivers.

Assigned-Risk Pool

You would have to purchase a policy through your state’s allocated risk pool for auto insurance if you’re turned down for coverage elsewhere. The assigned-risk pool policies are pricey and ought to be your last option.

Meanwhile, you might need to obtain an SR-22 per a state or court order (called SR-44 in Florida and Virginia). The SR-22 isn’t insurance. Instead, it’s a document submitted to your state that attests to the fact that you have the bare minimum in auto liability coverage.

DUI and its Legal Repercussions

Depending on the state in which you are convicted, a DUI may have different legal repercussions. Here are a few instances:

Suspension of a Driver’s License:

For a first DUI conviction, 48 states have administrative license suspension (ALS). This could linger for around 30 days to a year or more. Some states permit restricted driving rights, such as the ability to drive to and from work.


If you are found guilty of DUI, you will certainly face high fines. In California, for instance, first-time DUI offenders might anticipate fines between $1,400 and $2,600.


Depending on the state, a first-time DUI offender could spend anywhere from 24 hours to up to a year in jail.

Ignition Interlock System:

If alcohol is found in your breath, an ignition interlock will shut off your car’s engine. Every state has an ignition interlock program, and after a DUI conviction, it is either required or highly encouraged in 31 states.

High BAC:

In 44 states, the penalty for drivers with high BACs (usually 0.15 percent and higher) are raised.

Why Having a Dui on Your Record Matters

Having a DUI on your driving record can result in a number of issues, such as:

  • increased insurance costs
  • Having trouble finding a job if you drive for a living
  • License revocation

The cost of your insurance coverage is significantly influenced by your driving history. When assessing your risk level, insurance firms look at it as one of the first things. Car insurance premiums for high-risk drivers are frequently much higher than for low-risk drivers.

This means that if you have a history of traffic violations, collisions, or, in this case, DUIs, your insurance rates may increase. When determining a premium, insurers normally take into account your driving history from the previous three to five years. So, if you commit numerous offenses at that time, your insurer might potentially revoke your insurance.

Furthermore, a spotty driving record may limit your employment options depending on your line of work. On the other hand, a spotless driving record is one of the prerequisites for commercial driver’s licenses.

Finally, if you receive too many tickets or infractions on your driving record, your license may be suspended. Each state has a different threshold for license suspension. DUIs are grounds for automatic suspension in some states.

SR-22 Form

You’ll most likely need to submit an SR-22 or FR-44 if your license is suspended. You must demonstrate that you have the bare minimum of liability auto insurance that the state mandates in order to get your license back. A certificate of financial responsibility, that is what an SR-22 form is. It demonstrates that you have purchased at least the minimum amount of motor insurance.

The typical SR-22 requirement cycle is three years. For filing SR-22 documents during this time, many insurers will charge you a flat price. DMVs frequently impose a filing fee as well. You will also be required to pay reinstatement fees for your license on top of that. In other words, it can be expensive to use an SR-22.

Are DUI Convictions Serious in California?

In the state of California, being accused with DUI is a highly serious offense. As a matter of fact, states all across the nation have stepped up their efforts to prosecute DUI offenders harshly, impose severe collateral repercussions, and take other measures to lessen the number of DUI-related events and accidents, including car accidents.

Driving while intoxicated is prohibited by California Vehicle Code 23152 when the BAC is.08 percent or above. If your BAC is below this limit, you have a commercial driver’s license, or you are above 21, you could still be charged with DUI.

According to California law, if you are found guilty of a DUI, you might be sentenced to up to six months in jail, have your license suspended for a year, and pay fines up to $1000. Additionally, you could have to spend a certain amount of time attending DUI classes. The severity of the consequences to be expected depends on how many DUI convictions you have. You should expect additional imprisonment or prison time, higher license suspension periods, science, and other serious punishments.

Can DUIs Be Expunged in California?

StateOn record forPointsPoint length
Alabama5 years6 points2 years
AlaskaFor life10 points2 points off every 2 years
Arizona5 years8 points3 years
Arkansas5 years14 points3 years
California10 years2 points13 years
Colorado10 years8 points2 years
Connecticut10 years3 points2 years
Delaware5 yearsExtra penaltiesN/A
Florida75 yearsExtra penalties3 years
Georgia10 yearsExtra penalties2 years
Hawaii5 yearsNo point systemN/A
IdahoFor lifeExtra penalties3 years
IllinoisFor lifeNo point systemN/A
IndianaFor life8 points2 years
Iowa12 yearsNo point systemN/A
KansasFor lifeNo point systemN/A
Kentucky5 yearsExtra penalties2 years
Louisiana10 yearsNo point systemN/A
MaineFor lifeExtra penalties1 year
Maryland5 years12 points3 years
Massachusetts10 years5 points6 years
Michigan7 years6 points2 years
Minnesota10 yearsNo point systemN/A
Mississippi5 yearsNo point systemN/A
Missouri10 years8 points1.5 years
Montana5 years10 points3 years
Nebraska12 years6 points2 years
Nevada<7 yearsExtra penalties1 year
New Hampshire10 years6 points3 years
New Jersey10 yearsExtra penaltiesN/A
New Mexico55 yearsExtra penalties1 year
New York15 yearsExtra penalties1.5 years
North Carolina7 yearsExtra penalties3 years
North Dakota7 yearsExtra penalties3 years
OhioFor life6 points3 years
Oklahoma10 yearsExtra penalties3 years
OregonFor lifeNo point systemN/A
Pennsylvania10 yearsExtra penalties3 points off per year
Rhode Island5 yearsNo point systemN/A
South Carolina10 yearsExtra penalties2 years
South Dakota10 years10 pointsVaries
TennesseeFor lifeExtra penalties2 years
TexasFor life2 points3 years
Utah10 yearsExtra penalties2 years
VermontFor lifeExtra penalties2 years
Virginia11 yearsExtra penalties2 years
Washington15 yearsNo point systemN/A
West Virginia10 yearsExtra penalties2 years
Wisconsin10 years6 points5 years
Wyoming10 yearsNo point systemN/A

In the state of California, a lot of offences are not eligible for expunction. However, if you have previously been found guilty of a DUI, California Penal Code 1203.4 may allow you to have your conviction expunged from your criminal record. Prospective employers, landlords, and other parties who could check your criminal history won’t have access to your conviction if your DUI record is sealed. In addition, you will be able to truthfully respond “no” when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime.

However, it’s vital to remember that the DUI will only appear as a prior conviction on your criminal history record going forward. This means that if you are convicted of a second DUI offense within ten years of your first DUI, the first DUI will no longer be counted as a first DUI offense. Your criminal background check will still be available when needed to specific government personnel and law enforcement agents.

How to Clear Your Driving Record of a DUI

To erase a DUI from your record, you should first obtain legal counsel. DUI rules are complicated, and your prospects of winning a case without legal counsel are slim. According to our data, those with DUI attorneys have a threefold higher chance of having their charges against them dropped.

A lawyer can aid in your defense against a criminal charge. Unfortunately, just because a DUI has been sealed, expunged, or removed from your criminal record doesn’t mean it has disappeared from your driving record.

This implies that except from waiting, there is typically nothing you can do to erase a DUI from your driving record. Until the period of time prescribed by state law has passed, a DUI remains on your driving record. To find out how lengthy that term is in your state, look at the table above.

No matter the facts of your case, you should speak with a lawyer who has handled DUI cases before. They can advise you and assist you in lessening the effects of a DUI.

How Long Does a Dui Affect Your Ability to Get Vehicle Insurance?

A DUI doesn’t necessarily stay on your record for the same amount of time that it affects your vehicle insurance prices. That’s because your driving history and insurance history are two different things, just as they are with your criminal history and driving history.

When determining the cost of an auto coverage, insurers frequently include incidences from the previous three to five years. Expect to spend more for car insurance if you have had an accident or a violation on your record within the last three to five years. You’ll probably pay significantly higher rates if you have several mishaps during that time, such as collisions, speeding citations, or DUIs.

Ask your insurance provider to reevaluate your rates after three to five years go by with no new events. After that period of time, there is a strong probability that your heart rate will return to normal.

Checking Your Driving History

Do you want to know if a previous offense is still on your record? Fortunately, you can easily check your driving history to learn more. Depending on the state in which you reside, the specific procedure varies, but in general, follow these steps:

  • Locate the official website for the department of licensing or the department of motor vehicles in your state. Ensure that the website’s domain ends
  • Look for a page with a driving history on the website. You can use the search feature on the majority of these pages. A “records” or “docs” tab should be present.
  • To obtain a copy of your driving record, you’ll probably have to pay a small fee – around $10 in most jurisdictions. For instance, it costs $11 in Michigan.

Additionally, you can physically visit your local DMV to obtain a copy of your driving history. But, there’s a chance that your insurance agent has a copy on record.

Once you get a copy of your driving history, double-check that the dates and occurrences listed are accurate.

Can a DUI Conviction Be Hidden From View on a Background Check?

DUI convictions do appear on your criminal history report. Your DUI conviction will be visible on your record if a prospective landlord, financial institution, employer, or other person or entity wants to do a background check on you. For example, if you’re looking to do something as simple as manage your kid’s soccer squad, a conviction can make it more difficult for you to take advantage of these chances.

Additionally, keep in mind that depending on the specifics of your case, background checks may be more thorough. For instance, if you want to work in the healthcare or education sectors, these organizations might also need your permission to run a criminal history check on you. Any prior accusations, detentions, and convictions will be displayed here.

How Can a DUI Be Forgiven in California?

You must fulfill the standards for expunction if you want your DUI to be erased in California. This implies that you must have fulfilled the conditions of your probation or other sentencing requirements and not have served time in a California state jail.

You might be eligible to file a petition with the court to have your misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction erased if you meet these requirements. To decide whether your DUI should be erased, the judge will examine the specifics of your case and your petition.

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