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Updated on September 14, 2023
5 min read

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

What is a DUI?

A DUI, or “driving under the influence,” is a criminal charge for drunk driving. Although it refers to the influence of alcohol, it can also refer to other drugs, such as cannabis or opioids.

In some states, a DUI is called a DWI, meaning “driving while intoxicated.” Anyone operating any motorized vehicle can be charged with this offense. This includes vehicles such as:

  • Motorized watercrafts
  • Lawnmowers
  • Non-motorized bicycles

A DUI is a criminal offense in many states, and a DUI conviction will appear on criminal records as a misdemeanor or felony.


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How Do You Get a DUI?

You can get a DUI by going past the legal driving limit. The legal driving limit determines how much blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is allowed to drive a vehicle.

The legal driving limit varies depending on the state. However, most states have a set legal limit of 0.08% BAC. Anything above that is already considered drunk driving.

It’s easy for anyone to drink too much, especially if they have low alcohol tolerance. This is why avoiding drinking altogether when using a motorized vehicle is best.

Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Misdemeanor DUI offenses are less severe than felonies. The first DUI arrest is usually treated as a misdemeanor, but subsequent DUI convictions will likely result in felony charges.

A DUI misdemeanor typically leads to jail time, fines, and the loss of driving privileges. On the other hand, a felony offense can lead to imprisonment for more than one year.

A felony DUI conviction is filed if someone is killed or injured by a drunk driver.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

The length of time that a DUI or DWI will stay on your record depends on state laws. Some states have a “washout period” that could let a DUI record stay for five to fifteen years, while others keep these offenses on your driving record for life.

Some states declare two or more misdemeanors as a felony. However, it’s essential to understand that DUI and DWI parameters differ from state to state.

States That Keep a DUI Record for 5 Years

States that keep a DUI on your criminal record for 5 years include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island

States That Keep a DUI Record for 7 Years

States that keep a DUI on your criminal record for 7 years include:

  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota

States That Keep a DUI Record for 10 Years

States that keep a DUI on your criminal record for 10 years include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States That Keep a DUI Record for 11-15 Years

States that keep a DUI on your criminal record for 11-15 years include:

  • Iowa (12 years)
  • Nebraska (12 years)
  • New York (12 years)
  • Virginia (11 years)
  • Washington (15 years)

States That Keep a DUI Record For Life

States that keep a DUI on your criminal record for life include:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Florida (75 years)
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • New Mexico (55 years)
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont

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Consequences of a DUI on Your Record

Penalties and consequences for a DUI depend on the state where you committed the violation. It may include facing law enforcement, fines, and jail time.

There are also longer-term consequences of having a DUI on your record. These include:

  • License suspension
  • Restrictions on driving privileges
  • Travel restrictions to other countries (including Canada)
  • Insurance companies impose higher car insurance rates
  • Lengthy probation
  • Possibility of court-ordered alcohol education programs
  • Possible requirement to complete a formal alcohol or substance use disorder evaluation
  • Possible court-ordered substance use disorder (SUD) treatment
  • A criminal record

Sometimes, the consequences of a felony DUI charge may result in losing the right to vote. However, this varies by state; not all felons lose this right.

You may lose the right to sit on a jury or own a firearm. A DUI will also make it challenging to find a job because of criminal background checks. Getting a commercial driver’s license and other professional licenses may also be challenging because you must fully disclose your criminal history.


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Does a DUI in One State Show Up in Another State?

In short, yes. If someone is charged with a DUI and convicted outside their home state, the DUI will be transferred to their permanent record wherever they reside.

Most states participate in the Driver’s License Compact Nonresident Violator Compact to share information about driving records. This is independent of a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) background check.

If someone is charged with a DUI in their home state and then moves to another state, their license will still be suspended in their new area of residence. The offender cannot obtain a new license until the suspension period is satisfied from the state of conviction. 

How to Get a DUI Off Your Record

In some states, a DUI record may be expunged, so it will no longer be a part of your criminal history.

To get a DUI expunged, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Having served all corresponding penalties and successful completion of required probation
  • A sentence that did not involve spending time inside a state prison (unlike jail time)
  • There are no other criminal charges against you at the moment

A DUI defense attorney or lawyer can provide everything from legal advice to criminal defense for new DUI charges. DUI lawyers are also helpful in seeking the expungement of DUI criminal convictions.

Numerous law firms and offices throughout the United States focus solely on DUI laws and fight DUI convictions.


Drinking under the influence, or DUI, is a criminal charge for drunk driving. Although it’s primarily associated with alcohol, it can also refer to other substances, such as opioids or cannabis.

The first DUI charge is typically a misdemeanor, but repeat offenses can lead to a felony charge. You can also be charged with a felony if someone is injured or killed while driving.

A DUI can stay on criminal records for over 15 years, depending on the state. Although removing a DUI from your criminal history is possible, you must meet several requirements and legal help to avoid harsh sentencing.

Updated on September 14, 2023
10 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. National Institute of Health. “Current Environment: Alcohol, Driving, and Drinking and Driving.” Getting to Zero Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities: A Comprehensive Approach to a Persistent Problem, 2018.

  2. United States Department of Justice. “Alcohol-Related Offenses.” USDJ.

  3. Chambers et al. “Drunk Driving by the Numbers.” Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2013.


  5. McCurly, J. “DUI and DWI Overview.”

  6. Cavaiola et al. “Characteristics of DUI Recidivists: A 12-Year Follow-up Study of First Time DUI Offenders.” Addictive Behaviors, 2007.

  7. Fors S.W., and Rojek D.G. “The Effect of Victim Impact Panels on DUI/DWI Rearrest Rates: a Twelve-Month Follow-Up.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1999.

  8. Nochajski, T.H., and Stasiewicz, P.R. “Relapse to Driving under the Influence (DUI): A Review.” Clinical Psychology Review, 2006.

  9. Narag et al. “A Phenomenological Approach to Assessing a DUI/DWI Program” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 2013.


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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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