How long does a DUI stay on my record?

Understand Your Criminal Driving Record

Your criminal history will show any DUI arrests, charges and convictions. It may not be easy to the public to find, but your criminal history is considered a public record. People who search your criminal history usually have a good reason for doing so: future employers, business partners, lenders, educational institutions and even future in-laws.

DUI Conviction Affects Your Criminal Record

Speeding tickets and other traffic violations are infractions. DUIs are either misdemeanors or felonies. Because a DUI are far more serious than other traffic violations, a DUI affects your criminal record in more profound ways. First, DUI convictions usually stay on your record longer than a simple traffic violation. In some states, DUI convictions stay on your record forever. Second, past DUI convictions are used to make second or subsequent DUI charges more serious, meaning longer mandatory license suspensions, higher fines and even more jail time. The length of time a past DUI conviction can be used against you will vary from state to state, but in some states a prior DUI conviction can be used against you no matter how long ago it occurred.

Your DUI History Used Against You

In addition to jail time, fines and increased penalties with each subsequent DUI, there are other ways a DUI conviction legally can be used against you. Car rental companies won’t rent to you with a DUI conviction (they look back between 3-6 years or more). Your auto insurance rates will go up and you may be required to get an SR-22 for three years after your conviction. Health insurance rates can go up too as a result of a DUI conviction. And if you want to travel outside the US, your travel might be restricted due to a DUI conviction (DUI convictions are part of the FBIs criminal database). Security clearances can be lost, as well as your right to carry a concealed weapon. Your credit score might also be affected, and you may be classified as a high risk individual when you apply for auto, home or business loans. There are many other consequences that you will face with a DUI conviction on your record.

Removing a DUI from Your Record

Some states will allow you to expunge a DUI conviction in certain circumstances. The time it takes before a DUI record can be expunged depends on the state where the DUI conviction was entered. If you were convicted of a DUI, expungement basically allows you to erase the conviction from your public record. The benefits of an expungement are obvious, but it is not a quick or easy remedy. An experienced DUI attorney can explain the expungement process in detail and determine if you are a good candidate.