How Long Can a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Ron Spinabella

A DUI or DWI is a serious offense that can cause you to lose your license, and incur fines and legal fees up to thousands of dollars. DUIs have a time frame of 5 to 10 years on your driving record throughout most of the United States. However, they can remain permanently in certain states depending on their laws.

The penalties for a DUI can be very costly, including higher auto insurance rates and difficulty finding employment. A DUI can have a long-lasting impact on both your driving and criminal record, as well as taking away from the life you want to live. You’ll face very hefty fines and in some cases, jail time. While you should absolutely be concerned about your criminal record, you need to remember there is also your driving record, which is completely separate.

It is crucial to know the difference between your criminal and driving record. Your criminal record generally can never have a DUI removed. But, it can either stay or be removed from an individual’s driver's record depending on time and circumstances. It is best for one who has been cited with this offense to learn about all of their options so they are not stuck in the limbo of potentially losing their license or facing intense legal penalties. Below we will discuss everything you need to know about how long a DUI will remain on your driving record.

How Long do DUIs Remain on a Driving Record?

In states across the U.S., a DUI conviction can affect your life in many ways, even years after you committed it -higher car insurance rates or suspension of driving privileges are just two examples. You might need to speak with a DUI specialist if you face any charges, but it is worth reading up on the specifics of how your state handles these. There will always be the possibility of facing higher car insurance premiums or license suspension for those who are convicted.

The point system used by most states throughout the United States is one of the major ways people’s driving records are monitored. When you commit a certain violation, such as running red lights, driving without insurance on your license, and under the influence, you will get a certain number of points added to your license. The severity increases depending on what infraction it was. If someone has too many violations in their record within an allotted amount of years, they may face additional penalties like having their driver's license suspended or revoked altogether.

One of the many factors that insurance companies take into account when setting your rates is points on your license. If you’ve accumulated a high amount, it will be reflected in higher premiums for coverage because they are taking an extra risk by insuring someone who has more potential to cause damage. The greater a liability you are, the more expensive your insurance usually becomes.

You will be penalized for driving under the influence through the point system if the state uses it. These penalties can include fines and license suspensions, depending on your state's regulations. Of course, this will affect your DMV record as well - but it won't stop there. Some other punishments may range from a large fine to an extended suspension of time. Your state’s regulations will determine the number of points the DUI adds.

DUI convictions will remain on your driving record for a certain number of years. Again, the state will determine how long. In some states, this is set at either three or five years. In others, it's determined by if you manage to avoid any violations over each year without getting another ticket.

It helps to look at an example. The state of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin each handle DUIs differently. In Indiana, a DUI conviction will accumulate eight points on your driving record for the next two years, but the DUI itself stays on it forever if you are convicted. The situation changes in Illinois. There is no point system used, but a DUI will remain permanently on your record. For those who live in Wisconsin, their DUI adds six points which last five years -you can have the DUI removed from your driving record after 10 years.

How is Your Insurance Affected With a DUI on Your Record?

Insurance companies won't even give someone with an alcohol-related driving conviction quotes without charging them more because of their increased risk level. A person who's been charged with or convicted of drunk driving can be expected to face high premiums from any insurance provider. It’s practically a given your insurance will get more expensive after a DUI, but there can be further consequences.

If you have been driving for more than five years, your insurer will usually calculate how many infractions and accidents occurred over that period to set a premium rate.

However, if there are too many incidents during this time frame, then drivers may be penalized with higher premiums. If you find yourself in even worse circumstances such as having racked up at least one offense within three to five years, it can result in denial of coverage from car insurers entirely.

Further Consequences of a DUI or Bad Driving Record

As we know, DUI charges have a variety of negative consequences for defendants, aside from increased insurance rates. One potential consequence is that you could lose your commercial driver's license and be unable to work. Acquiring a commercial driver’s license requires you to have a clean driving record, leaving you no way to get one if you have a DUI charge.

One of the worst situations that a DUI could lead to is the loss of driving privileges. This may not happen in every state, but most legal tolerance for DUIs and DWIs has dwindled over the decades. Automatic suspensions don’t occur every time, but they aren’t unheard of. While it’s possible to only face penalties such as fines, you should drive with the mindset that one DUI could mean the end of your privilege to drive on the road.

If you’re facing a license suspension, especially for a DUI, you’ll have to fill out an SR-22 form if you want to be allowed to drive once more. To clarify, an SR-22 is not insurance, but rather a form that shows that you carry and pay for auto insurance. Proving that you have coverage in the event of an accident is states need to allow you to drive again after a DUI or a DWI.

An SR-22 is a pricey requirement for anyone who's had their license revoked. You'll need to get an insurance notification form from your insurer, and after they file it with the DMV there are additional costs of both filing fees and reinstatement charges. While these will raise your expenses significantly, you won’t have any other choice if you want to drive again.

Will a DUI Appear on my Record From State to State?

It is hard to avoid the appearance of a past DUI on your driving record, and this detail depends largely on where you live. That said, it's best to assume that any previous conviction will show up when pulled up by officials in any state or county. Whether you choose to visit another state or move there permanently, a DUI from the previous state will still appear.

If you're visiting another state and get a DUI offense, the consequences are the same as they would be in any other state. The Driver License Compact, which involves information sharing with your home DMV, allows any driving violations to be transferred wherever you go. Your violation will still be added to your driving record even in a state like Wisconsin, which doesn't participate in the DLC. This is because they have a consensus that the driving records of an individual in question will be shared, regardless of the state.

Is There a Way to Erase a DUI From my Record?

Having a DUI taken off of your record is no small feat, but it’s not impossible. You will need to find legal help in order for this to happen -there's just too much complexity and strictness involved with the laws surrounding DUIs that you can't even go at it alone. Having an experienced lawyer on your side could make all the difference when fighting these charges. After all, if they represent your case successfully, experts say it’s three times more likely you'll be able to reduce your penalties and maybe even get the charge dropped.

You need to make sure you are prepared with a good lawyer before your DUI hearing because if the charges stick it will stay on your criminal record for years. A DUI can result in not only fines but also jail time. With a licensed attorney who knows what they’re doing, chances of getting such charges removed from your criminal record are much greater. As mentioned before though, it may not be the same with your driving record.

The unfortunate truth about DUIs is that you're in it for the long haul. The best-case scenario would be waiting out your time, which can often take several years before finally expunging from both public and government records. Though there will no longer be a trace of this black mark on your driving record for the public, something even more permanent still remains -indefinitely stored deep within DMV databases as a complete driver history file.

The moment you get convicted of a DUI in a state without time limits, your driving record could be destroyed. As one of the major consequences of getting arrested with DWI charges, this should be enough to deter a person from deciding to drive intoxicated. In Illinois for instance, any DUI conviction can never be expunged.

Regardless, you should always remember you are entitled to legal help. Contact a lawyer in your state as soon as possible if there is the slightest chance of being able to remove a DUI from your record. This is your best option to avoid a suspension or even paying too much for car insurance.

Will a DUI Affect The Rate of my Car Insurance?

Getting a DUI is just the beginning. While it will involve facing costs in fines and DUI courses, it can affect your insurance rates. One DUI can cause an increase in your insurance rates by as much as 80%. Getting into an accident in the three to five year period following this spells disaster for your insurance costs.

The cost of car insurance varies from state to state depending on each individual's needs. For example, the most expensive states raise their rates by an average $10,000 while some cheaper examples only have a $625 increase in prices.

A driver’s age is one of the many factors that determine their insurance rates and premiums. Car insurance companies have to take into account the driver's age and their criminal past as well. A person driving with a DUI or DWI is considered high risk, which means they will also be paying higher rates for car insurance. For example, 18-year olds in Illinois are seen as riskier, so if they have a DUI, their rates will rise two and a half times the amount that a 30-year-old would be faced with in the same situation.

How Long Can my Insurance be Harmed by a DUI?

Once you get charged with a DUI, it will be a number of years before your insurance decreases in cost. The amount of time it will take until you’re able to get the same rate as before is going to depend on how long your DUI stays in effect with certain insurers, or if there were any other factors involved like reckless behavior or accidents that led up to the DMV suspending your license at all.

Your previous driving history will be used to determine how much you will pay for your premiums. If there are any accidents or speeding tickets within the last three-five years, you may not see lower prices. The number of points on an individual’s license also affects how long their rates stay raised. Some points have specific periods depending on what state, that determines when those points can be removed from their records.

If you are looking to keep your insurance rates low, the best option is to avoid getting a DUI or any other violations for the next three to five years. This will help decrease expenses but will also ensure that you avoid any extra penalties. Simply talk with your insurance provider who may reexamine their rating on you.

How Can I Check For DUIs And Other Infractions on my Record?

Your driving record is important to your continued ability to drive safely and responsibly, and legally so it's always a good idea to check in every now and again. Through a basic set of steps, you can view all information on your record:
-Go on your DMV’s website and look up their online services and their phone number.
-Enter your driver’s license number, your last name, your birthdate, and contact information. After this click the “check driving records” button.
-You’ll be able to view through all information on your record and see any past violations/convictions that occurred.
-If you want a copy, you can pay a $10-11 fee to have it sent to you electronically or visit the DMV for a hard copy.

You can't be a great driver if you've been drinking. The best choice to protect yourself from the fallout of an accident and any extra penalties is never to drink and drive. Not only will forking over tons on fees or getting your license suspended leave you penniless, but it also puts everyone else in danger on the road as well.

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Im the editor of the Insurance Navy Blog. We write about all different kinds of insurance, tips on how to get the best price and coverage, and other tidbits about your insurance needs.

Chicago, IL

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