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How Long Does a DUI or DWI Stay on Your Driving Record?

In most states, a DUI or DWI stays on your driving record for five to 10 years.

police officer holding breathalyzer

Getting a DUI or DWI is a serious offense, but it’s also a fairly common one. According to the CDC, more than one million drivers are arrested for impaired driving every year.

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.

Beyond your driving record, a DUI puts a black mark on your criminal record. That can come with jail time and costly fines.

But there's a big difference between a criminal record and a driving record in this instance. In most states, a DUI stays on your criminal record for life, unless you get the charge reduced, deferred, expunged or sealed.

You’ll learn more about that in this article, which also covers:

DUIs and driving records by state

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 your driving record matters

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. If you're applying for a job that doesn't involve driving, however, your prospective employer may not check your driving record.

The Driver's Privacy Protection Act ensures your driving record is kept private. Employers and insurance companies can't access it without legal justification or consent.

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.

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 qualified 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?

DUIs aren't just a headache — they're also extremely expensive. Our research shows that a DUI can cost you $15,000 when all is said and done. That includes bail, towing, legal fees, court fines, diversion programs, ignition locks and insurance increases.

Our research also shows that drivers pay an average of $830 more per year for car insurance after a DUI. 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.

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 consider incidents from the last three to five years when pricing an auto policy. If you have an accident or a traffic violation during that time, your car insurance may cost more. 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. First, you're going to need identification and your personal information. 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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