Driving under the influence has serious consequences. Not only does it put the safety of you and others at risk, but it also results in legal consequences and affects your driving record and insurance rates

But if you’ve made the mistake of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, you’re not alone. More than one million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. And while one-third of drivers arrested for a DUI are repeat offenders, many more people learn from their mistakes. 

Having a DUI on your record doesn’t mean you’ll never drive again. It’s even possible to remove the mark from your criminal record in some states. And while a DUI will impact your driving record, it’s still possible to find cheap car insurance when you’re permitted to get back on the road. If you use Insurify to compare premiums across insurance companies, you’ll be able to easily identify the providers that can offer the lowest rates to people with DUIs. 

Score savings on car insurance with Insurify

Compare Quotes

DUIs: Driving Record

In most states, getting caught driving drunk results in a mandatory driver’s license suspension. And even if you are allowed to keep your license, the infraction will go on your driving record with the DMV. If you work in a field that requires driving, that could make it more difficult to get a job. You’ll also see your car insurance costs rise significantly. The average driver with a clean record pays $236/month for car insurance, but drivers with just one DUI evaluation pay a whopping $352/month on average, according to Insurify data. That’s nearly a 50 percent increase in cost. 

If law enforcement suspects you of a DUI offense, they’ll typically ask you to take a breathalyzer to assess your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Motorists who refuse to take the test in the first place will typically have their driver’s license suspended as well. 

DUIs: Criminal Record

A DUI also comes with criminal charges. In most states, your first offense will be considered a misdemeanor, while the third DUI arrest is typically considered a felony. There are a few circumstances when a DUI may be considered a traffic offense, but in most cases, you’ll have a criminal record. Unless you can have the conviction expunged (or removed) from your record, your DUI will stay on your record for the rest of your life. 

That can impact you in several ways. If you’re ever arrested again, the penalties could be more severe due to your criminal history. However, most states have a lookback period for prior convictions. So if you are arrested a second time, your prior DUI may or may not count for the purposes of determining the new penalties. 

A criminal record can also interfere with your right to child custody, your right to own a firearm, and other privileges. If you’re an immigrant, a criminal record could prevent you from becoming a naturalized citizen. And convicted criminals have a harder time finding a job since most potential employers conduct criminal background checks

If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI, you might want to get the assistance of a defense attorney. Many DUI lawyers offer free consultations so you can get the legal advice you need. 

Can I expunge my DUI or seal my DUI record?

In many states, it’s possible to apply for expungement or to seal your record after you are convicted of a DUI. Expunging the DUI means it is completely removed from your record, while sealing your record simply hides the DUI from the public. When this process starts and how it works varies from state to state. However, in most states, an expunged DUI still counts as a prior offense for a certain period of time, so you’ll still incur a more severe penalty if you’re caught driving drunk again. 

DUI Laws: State by State

Here’s the basics on DUI/DWI laws in all fifty states. 

How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

In California, a DUI will remain on your driving record for 10 years, after which it won’t be considered a prior offense. If you serve time, you won’t be able to get your criminal record expunged. But if you complete probation for your DUI, you can petition for expungement afterward. This can make it easier for you to find employment in the future. 

How long does a DUI stay on your record in Illinois?

A DUI conviction in Illinois will stay on your driving record permanently. While the period between DUIs can change the consequences of subsequent offenses, your first DUI will always be viewed as a prior offense. Furthermore, the only way to get a DUI conviction expunged in Illinois is through a governor’s pardon. If you went to trial and were found “not guilty,” you can have the arrest expunged. 

How long does a DUI stay on your record in Arizona?

A DUI in Arizona remains on your driving record with the Motor Vehicles Department for five years. However, the lookback period is seven years, meaning that if you are arrested for drunk driving within seven years of your first DUI, it will be considered a second offense. Furthermore, Arizona does not allow for the expungement of criminal convictions. You can apply to have the DUI “set aside” by the court, which eliminates the judgment of guilt, but it will still remain on your permanent record. 

How long does a DUI stay on your record in Florida?

Florida has very strict laws regarding DUIs. A DUI charge will stay on your driving record for 75 years in the Sunshine State. And the only way to have a charge removed from your criminal record is if you were never convicted. There’s no way to expunge a DUI conviction in Florida. 

How long does a DUI stay on your record in North Carolina?

A DWI stays on your driving record for seven years in North Carolina. You can’t get it expunged unless the case was dismissed or you were found not guilty. If you are convicted of driving while impaired, it’ll remain on your criminal record forever. 

How about other states?

State Length of Time on Driving Record Expungeable from Criminal Record?
Alabama 5 years Yes, for juvenile offenses only
Alaska Forever No, but convictions can be “set aside”
Arkansas 5 years Yes, for first-time DUI offenders who completed probation
Colorado 10 years Yes, for juvenile offenses only
Connecticut 10 years Yes, an expungement pardon is available 3 years after conviction
Delaware 5 years No
Georgia 10 years No
Hawaii 5 years No
Idaho Forever No, but you can ask for a “withheld judgment” for your first offense
Indiana Forever Yes, 5 years after a misdemeanor conviction or 8 years after a felony conviction
Iowa 12 years Yes, in some circumstances
Kansas Forever Yes, 5 years after completing probation for your first offense or 10 years after your second
Kentucky 5 years Yes, 5 years after conviction for misdemeanors
Louisiana 10 years No
Maine Forever No, only pardons available
Maryland 5 years Not for convictions, but you can get probation before judgment
Massachusetts 10 years No expungement, but you can seal your record 5 years after a misdemeanor or 10 years after a felony
Michigan 7 years No
Minnesota 10 years Yes, available 2 years after completing sentence
Mississippi 5 years No

 

Missouri 10 years Yes, available 10 years after conviction
Montana 5 years Yes, available 5 years after completing sentence
Nebraska 12 years No
Nevada 7 years No, but you can have your record sealed 7 years after your first or second misdemeanor DUI
New Hampshire 10 years Yes, eligible for annulment 10 years after conviction 
New Jersey 10 years No, DUIs are traffic violations in NJ
New Mexico 55 years No
New York 15 years No
North Dakota 7 years No
Ohio Forever No
Oklahoma 10 years Yes, available 1 year after dismissal or 10 years after conviction
Oregon Forever No
Pennsylvania 10 years Yes, after successful completion of the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program
Rhode Island 5 years Yes, available 5 years after misdemeanor conviction
South Carolina 10 years No
South Dakota 10 years Yes, available 10 years after misdemeanor conviction
Tennessee Forever No
Texas Forever No
Utah 10 years Yes, available 10 years after conviction or 10 years after probation ends
Vermont Forever No

 

Virginia 11 years No
Washington 15 years No
Washington, D.C. 10 years No
West Virginia 10 years No
Wisconsin  10 years No
Wyoming 10 years Yes, available 5 years after conviction

Keep in mind that to have your record expunged, you can’t have any new criminal convictions on your record. Because so many DUI cases aren’t eligible for expungement, it’s a good idea to talk to a DUI defense attorney before you go to court. 

FAQ: How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

If you get a DUI in California, it will stay on your record for 10 years. If you complete probation rather than jail time, you’ll be able to apply for expungement.

How long does a DUI stay on your record in Florida?

A DUI stays on your driving record in Florida for a whopping 75 years. Furthermore, there’s no way to expunge a DUI conviction in Florida.

How long does a DUI stay on your record in New York?

A DUI in New York stays on your record for 15 years, and convictions aren’t eligible for expungement.

How can I find the cheapest car insurance for drivers with DUIs?

Most insurance providers will charge higher premiums for drivers with DUIs, but some companies offer high-risk drivers lower rates than others. That’s why you should compare premiums from different companies if you want to get the cheapest car insurance. While looking up quotes on multiple insurers’ websites can be a hassle, Insurify makes it easy to compare rates apples-to-apples. You’ll just need to enter your information once, and we’ll show you the cheapest premiums in your area for drivers with DUIs.

Conclusion: How to get the best and cheapest car insurance

The easiest way to find the best deal on auto insurance is to use Insurify to compare car insurance quotes across providers. To get started, you’ll just need to answer a few questions about your vehicle and driving history. From there, our artificial intelligence technology will grab quotes from up to 20 different insurance providers. You can toggle between coverage amounts until you find a policy that meets your needs and fits your budget. It couldn’t be easier to use, and it could potentially save you hundreds of dollars annually on your insurance premiums. 

Insurify

Score savings on car insurance with Insurify

Compare Quotes
Updated January 21, 2021

Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based personal finance writer for Insurify. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree and FinanceBuzz. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue pup, playing music, or listening to audiobooks.