How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Last Updated: July 31, 2023 |
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The consequences of a DUI or a DWI can be long-lasting and expensive. DUIs stay on your driving record for 5 to 10 years in most states, but depending on where you live, they could last forever.

A DUI on record could result in a high amount of penalties as time goes on, including the possibilities of facing higher auto insurance rates, requiring an SR-22 to drive, and difficulty finding employment. It should also be noted that a DUI is a criminal offense, which will contribute to your criminal record. You will get arrested if you keep getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Many who are arrested for DUIs end up facing hefty fines and even jail time. But, this is a criminal record we’re talking about, not a driving record.

A driving record is significantly different from a criminal record. The time and circumstances that help get a DUI removed or cause it to remain are not the same. A DUI stays on your criminal record permanently, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it on your driving record permanently. It’s best to educate yourself on the differences between these two and their penalties. Learn everything you need to know about DUIs on your driving record by reading further below.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record?

It’s hard to give one-size-fits-all advice about DUIs because each state handles them differently. In most of the United States, a driving under the influence charge will remain on someone’s driving record for up to 10 years or more, depending on how strict their state government is. If you face such a charge, it will be important for you to read up on the specifics of how your state handles these charges and convictions. At the same time, you could be facing higher car insurance premiums or a license suspension.

A majority of states use points as a system to track how we drive, with points being added to your license when we commit certain driving infractions such as running red lights, driving without insurance, and of course, a DUI. If someone has a high number of points due to too many violations on their record within an allotted amount of years, they may face extra penalties such as having their driver’s license suspended.

On top of more penalties, your insurance policy cost will be affected by these points, along with your driving record. The insurance company will typically check the points on your driver’s license and base the price of your policy on how many there are. If you have a higher amount of points, you’ll have higher insurance rates because you’re considered a greater liability.

In the case of a DUI, the state may add points to your license, especially if they follow a point system. You can guess, this will affect your driving record. Some, however, will go beyond this and issue extra penalties, which could include a large fine or license suspension. The number of points you get on your license per DUI will be dependent on the state.

Depending on where you reside, the laws of how long the points stay on your record vary. Certain states will have a specific amount of years set where the DUI stays on your driving record. Others have plans where you can get points removed each year that you avoid any driving violations.

Examining the differences between Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin can help highlight the variance and use of these points from state to state. If you’re a resident of Indiana, a DUI will add 8 points to your driving record, which stays on it for two years. The DUI, however, is on for life. The state of Illinois doesn’t use a point system, and a DUI charge stays permanently on your record. In Wisconsin, a DUI adds 6 points which remain for five years, but the DUI can be removed after 10 years from the driving record.

What Happens to Your Insurance While DUIs Stay on Your Record?

One of the first ways you will likely be affected if you get a DUI on your record is a rise in your insurance rates. Anytime you go to an insurance company looking for quotes, they will first examine your risk level based on your driving record. It’s practically a given that you’re going to pay higher rates for car insurance the greater your risk level is. If you have a DUI on your record, the situation can be even worse.

The insurer will usually look into your driving record over the previous 3 to 5 years when setting your rate. If this is not enough time between infractions, drivers may receive an immediate increase in their average car insurance premiums with additional fees for increased liability protection coverage. But there are even worse penalties. Drivers who rack up more than one offense during that period can be denied car insurance coverage by insurers altogether.

Where Can a DUI or a Bad Driving Record Lead?

While increased insurance rates are an awful effect of a DUI charge, that is only the beginning of what you could be facing. Another issue you could run into from a DUI is struggling to find employment, specifically if it involves commercial driving. A DUI will be a serious mark on your driving record, and you will need a clean one in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

One of the worst situations a DUI could lead to is a license suspension. Yes, it’s true this can vary from state to state. Some states may only affect your driving record with extra penalties, but most in the United States have a very low tolerance for driving under the influence. No matter the type of citation or infraction, the state could suspend your license if you have too many. There is a chance you could end up with an automatic suspension from one DUI, though.

When your license gets suspended, whether for a DUI or other violations, an SR-22 will be required if you want to start driving again. The SR-22 is a form that certifies you have met the state’s minimum amount of liability car insurance requirement. The proper auto coverage is imperative to validate yourself as a safe driver.

You should also be aware of how costly it gets when you need an SR-22. The requirements for an SR-22 in most states will last for a minimum of 3 years. The expenses kick in with your insurer, as they charge a flat fee to file your SR-22, as well as with the DMV. Along with these charges, you will also have reinstatement fees to pay. Remember, this is on top of the car insurance cost.

Can A DUI in One State Appear on Your Driving Record in Another State?

The appearance of a past DUI on your driving record is nearly unavoidable. Again, this detail is very dependent on the laws according to the state. But, you are always in your interest to assume that the DUI will appear on your driving record when it’s pulled up. This is usually the case whether you are taking up permanent residence in another state or are just making a visit.

But what happens if you get a DUI offense while you’re visiting another state? You will be facing the same level of consequences in most states. This happens through the Driver License Compact, which involves the sharing of your violation with the DMV of your home state. Afterward, it will still get added to your driving record. If you’re in a state like Wisconsin, you should be aware that they do not participate in this program. However, the state still has a standard agreement that the driving information of the individual will be transferred over on your driving record.

How Does a DUI Get Erased From Your Record And How Can a DUI Remain?

You can get a DUI taken off of your record, but it’s not an easy process. To start, you will need to get legal help. Due to the complexity and strictness of laws surrounding DUI charges, there’s no way of getting around having to search for legal representation, especially if you want to be able to receive affordable car insurance again one day. It is actually estimated that if you have a DUI lawyer to represent your case, you are 3 times more likely to get your charge reduced.

If you don’t provide yourself a lawyer, it’s almost certain the DUI will stay on your record for years to come. You need to give yourself the best chance if you’re going to go through the trouble to fight a DUI charge. With your lawyer’s help, you could get the DUI removed from your criminal record, but your criminal record and driving record are not the same.

There is usually no way to have a DUI removed from your driving record. Your best-case scenario is waiting out the time that it stays on your record, which is often several years. Even once the time has elapsed, the charge is not entirely gone. It will no longer be visible on your public driving record, but it will still be on file with the DMV. This may be kept permanently in their database, so they have your complete records.

The most unfortunate situation is if you get convicted of a DUI in a state that doesn’t have a time limit, which damages your driving record permanently. This is one of the major consequences of a DWI conviction. In a state such as Illinois, the DUI will never go away. This is partially why it’s so crucial to obey the law and never risk driving drunk.

No matter how it appears for you in your home state, it’s worth consulting a lawyer to see if there’s any chance in having a case to remove the DUI. You want to minimize the possibility of paying too much for car insurance, being without a license, or any extra penalties as much as possible. They might be able to provide some assistance or give you some insight.

How Does a DUI Harm The Rate of Your Car Insurance?

When a driver gets a DUI, it’s not just the traffic offense or the DUI courses that costs them. Remember the system of points mentioned before? A DUI raises the number of points significantly. The more points you have, the higher the rates you’ll face. A drunk driving conviction can increase a person’s insurance rates by 80%. There are no guarantees of what will happen to those premiums in the future if they get into any accidents or infractions during this three-to-five-year period.

This is also another detail that fluctuates based on state laws and requirements. Obviously, some states raise insurance prices more than others. Some of the most expensive examples rank at a nearly $10,000 increase. Even one of the lowest increases on car insurance rates still averages around $625.

Another detail that factors in is the driver’s age. A young person driving a car is generally seen as high risk by car insurance companies. Adding a DUI or DWI charge to a person age 18 – 24 will astronomically increase insurance costs. For instance, in the state of Illinois, an 18-year-old who has a DUI on their record is estimated to increase 2 and half times more than that of a 30-year-old who faced the same charges.

How Long Does a DUI Harm Your Car Insurance Rates?

Insurance is expensive enough as it is. A person’s insurance premiums will be high for at least several years. The amount of time a person’s paying higher car insurance rates because of a DUI is not always the same as how long it will impact their driving record. That’s because while they both track your driving history, some factors like reckless behavior and accidents are only accounted for in one or the other but never seen together by car insurance companies when calculating their premiums.

One of the ways insurance companies estimate how much to charge you for car insurance is by looking at your record. If there are any accidents, speeding tickets, or DUIs on that history within a three-five year period, you will not see lower quotes. The number of points on a person’s license will also affect the length of time your insurance rates are raised. Remember, certain numbers of points have a specific duration time on your license, depending on the state. This is another reason to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws and if they use a point system.

Avoiding a DUI or any other occurrences and violations for the next three to five years is the best option to getting your insurance rate decreased. This will not only help decrease expenses but will also ensure you avoid any extra penalties. You will need to talk to your insurance provider and have your rates and history reexamined.

How to Check Your Record For a DUI And Other Infractions

It is always wise to understand how to check your driving record and see what infractions are still there, whether it be a DUI or any other type of charge. There is a process anyone can go through to view the current state of their record. It’s important to note that it may be different depending on where you live. Follow these basic steps to get started:

The best choice you can make to protect yourself from the fallout of a DUI and any extra penalties is never to drink and drive. Not only will you find yourself with a DUI, deep in expenses, or with a suspended license, but you’re also putting everyone and yourself at risk on the road.