How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Updated January 8, 2024
9 min read
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Introduction

It's essential to understand that a DUI (driving under the influence) charge will imprint a stain on your driving history. If a DUI stays on record, for how long will it be so? Every state has different rules for addressing DUI charges and their expungement from your records.

Understanding the exact procedure and specifics of how long a DUI stays on your record can make navigating this process much more straightforward.

What Is a DUI?

A DUI is a charge of driving under the influence. This means your blood alcohol content was beyond the legal limit. Blood alcohol content refers to how much alcohol is in your blood — something determined by how much you have consumed.

However, you should remember that a DUI can also occur for drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Even if your BAC isn't above the legal limit (typically 0,08%), there are still chances that you can get a DUI.

DUI Statistics in Each State

If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties and the exact criminal charges will vary by state. This is because there are different DUI laws in each state. States with higher statistics of car accidents that occur because of alcohol have stricter penalties, which are being enforced and constantly amended to reduce the high statistics. Even those states with low statistics are working in collaboration with other states to create penalties and programs that will deter drinking and driving.

Judging by the DUI statistics in each state, you might face misdemeanor offenses for the first and second DUI offenses but a felony for the third, especially with a DUI charge on a driver's record. Some states will allow plea bargains; others will allow hardship licenses.

You might face a penalty, which is nothing more than DUI courses, fines, and probation. In other states, you might be sentenced to mandatory jail time, courses, fines, and probation, particularly with a DUI charge on a driver's record. The existence of a DUI charge on a driver's record can significantly alter the legal repercussions.

If you are pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint, it is likely to be in a populated area where there have been statistically many accidents or alcohol-related events. Look for the examples of how many traffic fatalities are connected to the alcohol use: 

  • In Kentucky – 27%; 

  • In the state of Washington – 43 %; 

  • In Arkansas – 34%;

  • In Colorado – 37%;

  • In the state of Oregon – 38%;

  • In Kansas state – 41%;

  • In Massachusetts – 42%; 

  • In the state of West Virginia, it is 37%. The same is true for Nevada.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

A DUI may stay on the record for different periods, and the latter depends on a variety of factors, including the state in which the record is made. For example:

  • In California, it can stay on the record for ten years, then "falls off";

  • In Texas, it stays on your record permanently unless you get it expunged;

  • In New York, you will see it on your record for 15 years.

When does a DUI fall off your record?

Again, the answer to this question — When does DUI fall off record? — is based on your state. Based on the examples above, you will notice that in some states it never As you can see on the examples, that in some states it never "falls off," whereas in others, it falls off after about ten years. 

DUI expungement — How to get it?

If there is a DUI conviction on your driving record, the repercussions stretch beyond DUI penalties like license suspension and increased car insurance. The conviction itself becomes a part of your criminal history.

Consequently, obtaining a new car insurance policy becomes a hurdle marked by higher rates due to your sullied record. In certain cases, insurers might even refuse to provide coverage, forcing you to resort to a special, more costly policy.

This naturally leads to the question “Does DUI fall off your record?

If you're a resident in a state where driving under the influence charges don't automatically shake off after a specific period, expungement should be your immediate pursuit. However, expunging a DUI requires different actions and timelines based on the transgression — felony or misdemeanor. It is recommented to consult an experienced lawyer to learn how to expunge a DUI. 

The process of expungement differs from state to state, and particularly for misdemeanors, it is handled differently. If you're facing a misdemeanor charge for the first time, you can petition for its expungement. Typically, this petition can only be filed once your misdemeanor is five years old and you have complied with all sentencing requirements, including probation completion. 

Should all requirements be satisfied, DUI cases can be expunged in every state. The expungement process restricts public access to specific records, aiding individuals in job applications without the burden of reporting a criminal record.

What Are State Penalties for Driving Under the Influence ?

A felony is a more severe charge than a misdemeanor. Some crimes can be considered both a misdemeanor and a felony, depending on the severity. If you are convicted of a felony, you are subject to a fee, the volume of which varies in each of the states. The severity of the sentence depends upon the severity of the charge.

A third DUI conviction, in most cases, is considered a felony. Felonies are very serious crimes and naturally will trigger constitutional rights. Should you be convicted of a felony offense, you risk losing some of your rights, for instance, the right to carry a gun. You can also lose the right to vote or join the military.

In each of the states, a misdemeanor includes driving under the influence. This can result in a revocation of your license. There are also sentencing options such as fines, jail time, and community service. If you get a third offense in a ten-year period, it might increase the severity of the crime to a felony.

DUI Laws: State by State

Alabama

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, for juveniles

Alaska

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Arkansas

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, for first-time offenders

Colorado

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, for juveniles

Connecticut

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, 3 years after your conviction

Delaware

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? No

Georgia

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

Hawaii

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? No

Idaho

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Indiana

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? Yes, 5 years after a misdemeanor conviction or 8 years after a felony conviction

Iowa

Length of time on record: 12 years
Is expungement possible? Yes

Kansas

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 5 years for a first offense or after 10 years for a second offense

Kentucky

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 5 years for a misdemeanor offense

Louisiana

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

Maine

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Marilyn

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? No

Massachusetts

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No, but you can seal your record for 5 years after a misdemeanor or 10 years after a felony

Michigan

Length of time on record: 7 years
Is expungement possible? No

Minnesota

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

Mississippi

Length of time on record:  5 years
Is expungement possible? No

Missouri

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, 10 years after your conviction

Montana

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 5 years 

Nebraska

Length of time on record: 12 years
Is expungement possible? No

Nevada

Length of time on record: 7 years
Is expungement possible? No, but you can have it sealed after 7 years

New Hampshire

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 10 years

New Jersey

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

New Mexico

Length of time on record: 55 years
Is expungement possible? No

New York

Length of time on record: 15 years
Is expungement possible? No

North Dakota

Length of time on record: 7 years
Is expungement possible? No

Ohio

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Oklahoma

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes

Oregon

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Pennsylvania

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes

Rhode Island

Length of time on record: 5 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, 5 years later

South Carolina

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

South Dakota

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 10 years

Tennessee

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Texas

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Utah

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 10 years

Vermont

Length of time on record: Forever
Is expungement possible? No

Virginia

Length of time on record: 11 years
Is expungement possible? No

Washington

Length of time on record: 15 years
Is expungement possible? No 

Washington DC

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

West Virginia

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? No

Wisconsin

Length of time on record: 10 years 
Is expungement possible? No

Wyoming

Length of time on record: 10 years
Is expungement possible? Yes, after 5 years

How Long Does It Take To Get a DUI Off Your Record?

The time frame varies, but it can take at least three months. Having a DUI written in your records can be debilitating, especially if the conviction was a second or third one. Does DUI ever leave record? It is a common question among those with DUI convictions.

The unfortunate reality is that your job application can be affected if you have a DUI on your record. When you attempt to qualify to buy a home or car or apply for a loan, there are times when a background check is conducted that would reveal the DUI on your record.

Getting a DUI on your record generally takes place after you are convicted of driving over the legal limit. In rare cases, you can be convicted even if you are driving under the legal limit. Once you have been convicted and the DUI on your record is present, you can sometimes utilize expungement to remove it. 

Each state has different rules regarding the process, filing fees, time that must pass, etc., for the expungement of a DUI on your record.

Article by
Inna Chumachenko
Lawrina

Inna Chumachenko is the Content Lead at Lawrina. She is responsible for managing all the content found on the blog, guides, and other website pages. Inna has a degree in philology and a vast interest in law. In her role at Lawrina, Inna oversees the content team, establishes collaborations with writers, and curates content from various contributors.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the content for Lawrina, please feel free to contact Inna directly via email at i.chumachenko@lawrina.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.