Besides all of the legal trouble that can come with a DUI, your driving record is blemished. A DUI stays on your driving record for five to 10 years in most states. Depending on where you live, you could even have a DUI on your driving record for life.

That’s a big deal, as a driving record with a DUI can cause several problems down the road. This includes rising insurance rates, SR-22 filing requirements and employment difficulties.

You’ll learn about all of the above in this article, which covers:

How long does a DUI stay on your driving record?

In most states, a DUI will stay on your driving record for five to 10 years. Every state handles DUIs differently, so it's hard to give one-size-fits-all advice about them. While reading about how your state deals with DUI charges or convictions, though, consider these facts:

  • Most states use a point system to track your driving. When you commit a traffic violation, the state DMV places points on your license. If you rack up enough points, your license may be suspended.
  • Insurance companies check your driver’s license points when pricing your insurance policy. More license points lead to higher insurance rates.
  • Of the states that use a point system, some give points for DUIs, while others opt for harsher penalties. In lieu of points, those states may automatically suspend your license or fine you after a DUI.
  • The number of license points given for a DUI varies by state. The length of time those points stay on a license also depends on where you live. In some states, it's a set amount of years. In other states, you can subtract points every year without driving violations.

The table below outlines how long a DUI stays on a driving record in each state. It also covers the amount of license points given for DUIs and how long those points stay on a license. In states with more severe penalties than license points, drivers usually face automatic license suspension.

How long DUIs and DWIs stay on your driving record
State On record for Points Point length
Alabama 5 years 6 points 2 years
Alaska For life 10 points 2 points off every 2 years
Arizona 5 years 8 points 3 years
Arkansas 5 years 14 points 3 years
California 10 years 2 points 13 years
Colorado 10 years 8 points 2 years
Connecticut 10 years 3 points 2 years
Delaware 5 years Extra penalties N/A
Florida 75 years Extra penalties 3 years
Georgia 10 years Extra penalties 2 years
Hawaii 5 years No point system N/A
Idaho For life Extra penalties 3 years
Illinois For life No point system N/A
Indiana For life 8 points 2 years
Iowa 12 years No point system N/A
Kansas For life No point system N/A
Kentucky 5 years Extra penalties 2 years
Louisiana 10 years No point system N/A
Maine For life Extra penalties 1 year
Maryland 5 years 12 points 3 years
Massachusetts 10 years 5 points 6 years
Michigan 7 years 6 points 2 years
Minnesota 10 years No point system N/A
Mississippi 5 years No point system N/A
Missouri 10 years 8 points 1.5 years
Montana 5 years 10 points 3 years
Nebraska 12 years 6 points 2 years
Nevada 7 years Extra penalties 1 year
New Hampshire 10 years 6 points 3 years
New Jersey 10 years Extra penalties N/A
New Mexico 55 years Extra penalties 1 year
New York 15 years Extra penalties 1.5 years
North Carolina 7 years Extra penalties 3 years
North Dakota 7 years Extra penalties 3 years
Ohio For life 6 points 3 years
Oklahoma 10 years Extra penalties 3 years
Oregon For life No point system N/A
Pennsylvania 10 years Extra penalties 3 points off per year
Rhode Island 5 years No point system N/A
South Carolina 10 years Extra penalties 2 years
South Dakota 10 years 10 points Varies
Tennessee For life Extra penalties 2 years
Texas For life 2 points 3 years
Utah 10 years Extra penalties 2 years
Vermont For life Extra penalties 2 years
Virginia 11 years Extra penalties 2 years
Washington 15 years No point system N/A
West Virginia 10 years Extra penalties 2 years
Wisconsin 10 years 6 points 5 years
Wyoming 10 years No point system N/A

Why a DUI on your driving record matters

A DUI on your driving record can lead to a few problems, including: 

  • Higher insurance rates
  • Employment difficulties if your job involves driving 
  • License suspension

Your driving record plays a major role in determining the price of your insurance policy. It's one of the first things insurance companies look at when they evaluate your risk level. Drivers with high risk levels often pay a lot more for car insurance than those who are a low risk.

That means if your driving record is filled with tickets or accidents — or, in this case, one or more DUIs — your insurance rates may rise. Insurers typically consider the last three to five years of your driving record when calculating a premium. If you rack up multiple infractions during that time, your insurer might even cancel your coverage.

Depending on your career, a splotchy driving record can impact your employment opportunities. Requirements for commercial driver's licenses include having a clean driving record. 

Finally, if your driving record contains too many citations or infractions, you might see your license suspended. The threshold for license suspension varies by state. In some states, a DUI warrants an automatic suspension.

If your license is suspended, you'll probably need to file an SR-22 or an FR-44. To reinstate your license, you have to prove you’re carrying the minimum amount of liability car insurance the state requires. That's what an SR-22 form is — a certificate of financial responsibility. It shows you’ve bought at least the required amount of auto coverage.

SR-22 requirements generally last three years. Many insurers will charge you a flat fee to file SR-22 forms during this period. DMVs often charge a filing fee, too. That's in addition to the license reinstatement fees you’ll have to pay. In other words, needing an SR-22 can be costly.

If you get a DUI in one state, does it show up on your driving record in another state?

Yes, most states transfer violations from past states. It depends on your new state's laws, but it's a good rule of thumb to assume your DUI will show up on any driving record. That's the case if you get a DUI while out of your home state, or if you move to a new state with an old DUI on your record.

If you get a DUI while visiting another state, it will likely be shared with your home state's DMV through something called the Driver License Compact. Every state participates except for Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin. But even those states often have informal agreements with other states to exchange driver information.

States with the most DUIs

Image of drink driver crashing

Driving impaired can cost you more than just your license — it can cost you or someone else their life. The number of fatal crashes has increased nearly 20% since 2020. We found that 35% of those fatal crashes involved alcohol.

Fatal crashes involving alcohol are highest in Rhode Island, Montana and Connecticut, where nearly 50% of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol. Mississippi, Kansas and Utah have the lowest numbers of fatal crashes involving alcohol.

Fatal Crashes involving alcohol in each state
State Fatal crashes % involving alcohol % where person was legally or severely impaired
Montana 213 51% 45%
Rhode Island 67 49% 42%
Connecticut 295 46% 40%
Texas 3,874 45% 39%
Maine 164 44% 39%
Oregon 508 44% 38%
Washington 560 43% 36%
Ohio 1,230 42% 36%
New Hampshire 104 41% 36%
Hawaii 85 40% 32%
Iowa 337 40% 34%
North Dakota 100 40% 35%
South Dakota 141 40% 35%
Virginia 850 39% 34%
Wisconsin 614 39% 34%
Wyoming 127 39% 35%
Illinois 1,194 37% 32%
Maryland 567 37% 32%
Missouri 987 37% 32%
Nebraska 233 37% 31%
California 3,847 36% 30%
Idaho 214 36% 29%
New Mexico 398 36% 33%
South Carolina 1,064 36% 30%
Louisiana 828 35% 28%
North Carolina 1,538 35% 30%
U.S. 38,824 35% 30%
Colorado 622 34% 30%
Massachusetts 343 34% 29%
Michigan 1,084 34% 28%
Minnesota 394 34% 27%
Vermont 62 34% 29%
West Virginia 267 34% 28%
New York 1,046 33% 27%
Pennsylvania 1,129 33% 29%
Arizona 1,054 32% 28%
Arkansas 638 32% 26%
Indiana 897 32% 28%
Nevada 317 32% 26%
Oklahoma 652 32% 27%
Alabama 934 31% 25%
Florida 3,331 31% 26%
New Jersey 584 31% 26%
Tennessee 1,217 31% 27%
Alaska 64 30% 22%
Kentucky 780 30% 26%
Georgia 1,664 29% 24%
Delaware 116 26% 23%
Kansas 426 25% 23%
Mississippi 752 25% 22%
Utah 276 25% 21%
Source National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

While fatal crashes are up, the number of DUIs issued by law enforcement has declined significantly over the last decade. From 2010 to 2019, the number of DUI citations issued nationally dropped by 33%, mainly because of increased awareness campaigns, stricter DUI penalties and ride-sharing programs.

North Carolina, Ohio and Georgia have experienced the biggest drops in DUIs. Citations in those three states dropped by as much as 72%.

Nationwide, only five states have seen an increase in DUIs over the last decade. DUI citations have increased by more than 110% in Delaware. However, the other four states are issuing more DUI tickets and seeing significantly lower increases.

North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have the highest rates of DUIs, each averaging around 80 DUI tickets for every 10,000 drivers. Illinois, Delaware and Alabama have the lowest rates of DUIs at 16 or fewer per 10,000 drivers.

States with the most DUIs
State DUIs in 2019 % change from 2010 DUIs per 10k drivers
North Dakota 4,833 16% 87
South Dakota 5,568 1% 86
Wyoming 3,194 -45% 75
Idaho 8,085 -25% 65
Wisconsin 24,546 -17% 57
Vermont 2,698 0% 57
Nevada 11,422 -15% 56
Kentucky 16,654 -28% 55
Hawaii 5,086 -24% 54
Alaska 2,856 -43% 54
Maine 5,445 -12% 52
Montana 4,020 -12% 50
Washington 28,830 -15% 50
Colorado 21,096 -27% 50
Minnesota 20,347 -19% 48
Iowa 10,799 -15% 47
Oregon 13,552 -10% 45
New Hampshire 5,346 17% 45
California 122,594 -38% 45
Nebraska 6,084 -52% 43
Maryland 18,945 -11% 42
Tennessee 19,568 -19% 41
Missouri 17,097 -43% 40
Texas 69,593 -26% 39
Utah 8,197 14% 39
Virginia 21,166 -28% 36
Michigan 25,835 -29% 36
Arizona 19,559 -48% 36
Oklahoma 9,056 -48% 36
New Mexico 4,961 -56% 34
New Jersey 21,386 -18% 34
Rhode Island 2,480 -4% 33
U.S. Average 755,331 -32% 33
Kansas 6,875 -49% 32
West Virginia 3,509 -30% 31
Mississippi 6,384 -42% 31
Arkansas 6,502 -37% 30
Connecticut 7,595 -26% 29
Indiana 11,505 -35% 25
Pennsylvania 21,137 -59% 24
South Carolina 8,721 -55% 22
Florida 33,872 N/A 22
New York 25,364 -31% 21
Massachusetts 10,121 -16% 20
Louisiana 6,535 -20% 19
North Carolina 14,158 -72% 19
Ohio 13,038 -65% 16
Alabama 6,275 -52% 16
Georgia 11,462 -60% 16
Delaware 452 113% 6
Wyoming 3,194 -45% 75
Source FBI Uniform Crime Report 2010 - 2019

How to get a DUI off your driving record

The first thing you should do to get a DUI off your record is seek legal help. DUI laws are complex, and the chances of beating a DUI without an attorney's assistance are minimal. Our research shows that people with DUI lawyers are three times more likely to get a DUI charge reduced.

A lawyer can help you beat a criminal charge. Unfortunately, removing, sealing or expunging a DUI from your criminal record doesn't mean it's no longer on your driving record.

This means there's usually nothing you can do to get a DUI off your driving record besides wait. A DUI stays on your driving record until the amount of time specified by state law elapses. Check out the table above to see how long that period is in your state.

Regardless of the specifics of your situation, you should consult an attorney who has experience handling DUI cases. They can give you advice and help you mitigate the damage that comes with a DUI.

How does a DUI hurt your car insurance rates?

Our research shows that a DUI can increase insurance rates by 80%. Expect to pay higher insurance rates for three to five years, assuming your driving record stays clean during that time. If you get into an accident or a traffic infraction during those three to five years, your rates may increase exponentially.

Compare quotes to find cheap car insurance after a DUI

How long does a DUI hurt your car insurance rates?

How long a DUI impacts your car insurance rates isn’t always the same as how long a DUI stays on your record. That’s because your insurance record and your driving record aren’t the same thing; just like your driving record and criminal record aren’t the same thing.

Insurers typically look at incidents from the last three to five years when pricing an auto policy. If you have an accident or a violation on your record in the last three to five years, expect to pay more for car insurance. If you have multiple incidents — like accidents, speeding tickets or DUIs — during that period, you’ll probably pay even higher rates.

If three to five years pass without any additional incidents, ask your insurance company to reassess your rates. There's a good chance your rate will go back to normal once that time has passed.

How to check your driving record

Curious if an old infraction is still on your record? Fortunately, it's pretty easy to check your driving record to find out. The exact process varies depending on what state you live in, but here's how to do it in general:

  • Find your state's official department of licensing or department of motor vehicles website. Make sure the website URL ends in .gov.
  • Search the website for a driving record page. Most of these pages have a search function you can use. Check for a “records” or “documents” tab.
  • You'll likely have to pay a small fee — around $10 in most states — to get a copy of your driving record. For example, in Michigan it's $11.

You can get a copy of your driving record in person directly from your local DMV, too. It's also possible that your insurance agent has a copy on file.

Once you have a copy of your driving record, check to make sure all listed dates and incidents are correct.

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