How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

For DUIs and DWIs, The consequences are long-lasting and expensive. DUIs stay on your driving record for a minimum of 5 years, but they can be moved up to 10 years or even indefinitely if you live in certain states, according to DMV records.

Ending up with a DUI on your record will lead to a series of penalties in the foreseeable future. You may find yourself facing higher auto insurance rates, requiring SR-22s, and difficulty finding employment due to the criminal offense. You should always remember that this is not just an administrative penalty: getting behind the wheel after drinking could result in arrest if you keep doing so. A person arrested and charged with a DUI could not only have to pay serious fines but also be sentenced to jail time. While this all applies to a criminal record, it’s not completely the same for a driving record.

The difference between a driving record and a criminal record seems like one is worse than the other. But, they are two different things that you should know about before making assumptions or decisions based on false information. DUIs are not limited to a criminal record. The difference is, unlike with a criminal record, a DUI can be removed from your driving record over time. This is why it’s imperative to understand the difference between a driving record and how a DUI can affect it. Follow along as we look further into how long a DUI stays on your driving record below.

On a side note, the best way to avoid a DUI is to remove the opportunity. Don’t drive to your location, get a lift there and a lift back. That being said, if you’ve received a DUI, this is what you need to know.

How Long Does A DUI Remain on My Driving Record?

A form from the DMV suspending a driver's license.

You might think it’s easy to give one-size-fits-all advice on DUIs, but each state handles them differently. In most cases, a person’s driving privileges will be revoked for up to 10 years or more in the United States, depending on their state government’s strictness with DUI charges. A DUI charge can have a long-term effect on your life, but it is important not to panic. Read up on the specifics of how your state handles these charges and convictions before deciding what course of action you will take next, as you could face higher car insurance rates or a suspended license.

In most states, driver’s license points are used as a system to track how we drive. For instance, when you commit certain driving infractions such as running red lights, not having insurance, or get convicted of DUI-related crimes such as drunk driving, your license will be assessed with points which can lead to fines and even license suspension if enough points are accumulated. A person who has exceeded the number of points in the allotted amount of time for their record is likely to face extra penalties such as having their driving privileges revoked.

The insurance company will always check the points on your driver’s license. Aside from facing serious penalties, you’ll be viewed as a higher-risk driver. This is because the insurer will know you are at greater risk for driving incidents based on the high number of points you’ve accumulated from multiple offenses.

Upon a DUI, the state may add points to your license. This will affect your driving record depending on which point system they use and how many extra penalties are added. It is important that you know what your state has in store for these types of violations since the penalties vary from state to state. While some might not include large fines or license suspensions, yours might.

The statute of limitations for a DUI offense varies depending on where you live. Some states have laws that set how long your driving record retains points and other programs where you can have points eliminated each year as long as you don’t violate any rules for one whole year. This is another reason you should research your state’s driving record stipulations.

Analyzing the points system and DUI laws in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin can help better understand how they differ from one another.  A resident of Indiana with a DUI will face the addition of eight points to their driving record, which remains on it for two years before expiring. Unfortunately, the DUI is permanent. The same offense committed by an Illinoisian will not include points because Illinois doesn’t have a point system. However, a DUI stays on your record for life. Residents of Wisconsin face more lenient rules. DUIs accumulate six points and stay on your record for five years, and after 10 years, the DUI can be removed.

How is My Insurance Affected While a DUI Sits on My Record?

If you have a DUI on your record, it can be difficult to find affordable car insurance. In fact, as soon as an insurer sees that you’ve been convicted of driving while intoxicated, they will automatically raise your premiums and make the purchase process more expensive. They’ll also take into account other factors like speeding tickets or accidents in order to determine whether or not they want to insure you based on driver risk.

Anyone with a spotty driving record should beware of the increased rates their insurance company may charge. Drivers with more than one infraction during a three to five-year period can expect an immediate increase in their monthly car insurance premiums. A driver should avoid getting more than one offense during this period, as they are likely to be denied any coverage by the insurer.

How a DUI or Bad Driving Record Affects Your Future as a Driver

An increase in your insurance rates isn’t the end of what you could face from a DUI charge. A DUI can cause many problems down the road, especially if you work a job that requires commercial driving. Nearly all companies will not accept a driver that has a DUI on their record. If you are thinking of any kind of commercial driving for a career, you’ll have to wait to get your driving record clean first.

License suspension is one of the worst results you could end up with from a DUI conviction. Yes, it’s true this varies from state to state, and it can range anywhere between just affecting your driving record or having an automatic suspension, but driving under the influence is handled with nearly zero tolerance around most of the United States. For instance, some states will automatically suspend your license after just one DUI.

If your license is suspended for any reason – such as DUI or other violations- an SR-22 will be one of the only ways you’ll be allowed back on the road. An SR-22 verifies that the proper state minimum amount of liability car insurance has been met in order to validate yourself as a safe driver who can get back on the road without fear of future accidents.

An SR-22 is one of the most costly measures you can take to maintain your driving privileges. The first expense comes from filing fees with both the insurance company and state DMV offices, on top of whatever your car insurer charges for its services. It also doesn’t stop there; a reinstatement fee will be added to these costs as well when renewing or applying for license plates in some states.

Will DUIs Appear on my Driving Record From State to State?

Remember, a past DUI on your driving record is nearly unavoidable. This is another detail that is very dependent on the laws according to the state, but you should always assume that it will appear when pulled up. It doesn’t even matter if you are just making a brief visit to a particular state you don’t live in.

It is important to know that your driving privileges will be affected if you get a DUI offense while visiting another state. The Driver License Compact states that the violation information, including what happened and where it occurred, is shared with your home state DMV. That means consequences such as license revocation or points on your record will still happen where you’re from. If you’re in Wisconsin, it’s important to note that they do not participate in the compact, but they still operate under the agreement to transfer such driving information to your record back in your home state.

Can I Get a DUI Erased From Your Driving Record?

DUI cases are not easy to get through, and it’s important that you find the right help. A DUI lawyer can greatly improve your chances of getting charges reduced or removed from your record altogether. Whether it seems like a hassle or not, there’s little to no chance of getting this type of charge removed or dropped without proper legal representation. According to some estimates, having a good attorney makes you three times more likely than without one.

If you don’t provide yourself a lawyer, not only will the DUI stay on your record for years to come, but it could have serious ramifications in other areas of life. You need to give yourself the best chance when fighting this charge with help from an expert and potentially getting the DUI removed permanently.

In truth, there’s not much to be done about a DUI once you’ve been convicted of one.

Even after those few years are over, this charge does not fully disappear from the DMV database. Records are kept permanently in such systems, so they can be viewed anytime.

In the unfortunate event that you’re convicted of a DUI in one of those states without any time limit, this could be an issue. This is because it will follow your driving record for life and can negatively affect how people view your credibility as a driver. This is one of the most serious consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction and why it’s not worth taking these risks.

With all of this in mind, it’s worth consulting an attorney to determine if you have any grounds for fighting the DUI conviction. If your lawyer finds a way to challenge it in court, you could potentially save hundreds or thousands of dollars over your lifetime and avoid penalties like losing your license.

How Are my Car Insurance Rates Harmed by a DUI?

Car insurance, insurance contract and car keys on a blue background

You probably know that getting a DUI is not just an expensive traffic ticket. There are the DUI courses you have to take, and of course all those points on your license – which can be bad if they go up too high. And when this happens, the insurance rates will soar. Getting convicted of drunk driving can increase someone’s premiums by 80%. It doesn’t matter how many violations one has during this time period. Their insurance prices may never get lowered, especially if one gets into a car accident or gets more infractions against them in the three-to-five-year.

The cost of car insurance varies by state, but it’s worth noting that some states raise the price more than others. The most expensive jumps in rates come from specific states with average prices at nearly $10,000 higher on a yearly basis. States with the lowest increase have even gone up $625 based on recent data.

Young drivers are often considered higher risk by car insurance companies. This is due to the assumption that young people lack experience and good judgment while also being at a heightened risk for accidents or injury from drunk driving charges. Car insurance rates skyrocket for 18 to 24-year-olds who have been convicted of a DUI. An 18-year-old that gets a DUI or DWI would see an increase of more than double the rate from somebody that got a charge when they were 30-years-old.

How Long Are my Car Insurance Rates Harmed by a DUI?

Car insurance is already expensive enough, but after someone has a DUI, they have to pay higher car insurance rates for years. The amount of time your rate stays up because of this infraction could be shorter or longer than how long that blemish stays on your driving record. This happens because while both take your driving history into account, accidents or reckless behaviors are reflected by the car insurance company.

Insurance is a drag in the first place. It’s hard to imagine insurance rates being any higher than they already are for most people. But think about it, what if you have an accident and get charged with DUI? The amount of time your rate will go up because of this infraction could be shorter or longer than how long that blemish stays on your driving record.

Insurance companies base your insurance rates mostly on your driving record. If there have been any accidents or tickets in a three to five-year period on that record, then it will be difficult to find lower quotes from an insurer because they worry about potential risks. Remember, the number of points accumulated on your license also affects how long these rates stay high, and it will also depend on your state.

By avoiding any traffic violations and DUI occurrences for the next three to five-year period, you will see a decrease in your insurance rates. It is important to talk with your provider about it so they can reexamine records for rating purposes. This decreases expenses and ensures that there are no extra penalties attached as well.

How to Check For DUIs or Other Infractions on Your Driving Record

It’s important to understand how your driving record works and what infractions are on it, like DUIs or other charges. Luckily, a basic process exists where you can find out what is currently on your driving record. The process varies a bit depending on which state you live in. Below are the standard steps:

  • Visit your DMV’s website to get online services or phone numbers.
  • Search by typing in your driver’s license number (or last name and birthdate), include your contact info, and click the “check driving records” button.
  • Any past violations/convictions will appear in the results, indicating that these will appear to jobs you’re applying to for work or other licenses.
  • A $10-$11 fee will be charged for a copy of your driving record. You can also obtain a physical copy through your insurance agent or by visiting your DMV.

You don’t have to be a professional driver or even experienced behind the wheel to understand how dangerous drinking and driving is. Choosing not to drink and drive is the one sure way to never have to deal with a DUI and the severe penalties that come with it. You’re not only saving on life-long expenses, but you’re protecting yourself and those driving around you.

If you have been injured in a DUI accident, speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You are entitled to compensation.

About The Author

Michael Feiner

Michael Feiner

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Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.

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