How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Understanding the Duration of a DUI on Your Record

If you’ve been charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), you might be asking yourself the question: “How long does a DUI stay on your record?” The duration varies by state, but it’s crucial to know because a DUI can impact employment, insurance rates, and your reputation.

The Basics of DUI Record Duration

The time a DUI stays on your record varies by state. Some states use a ‘lookback period‘ to consider past DUI convictions for new offenses. California has a 10-year lookback period. In California, the DUI stays on your driving record for 10 years, maintained by the DMV. However, the arrest and charge can remain on your criminal record indefinitely unless legally removed.

The Criminal Court Case and DUI

In California, DUI offenses are usually misdemeanors. A DUI conviction generally remains on your criminal record for ten years from the conviction date, visible to law enforcement, courts, and those doing background checks. Subsequent DUIs within this decade can result in harsher penalties, including extended license suspensions, higher fines, and possible felony charges. It’s vital to drive responsibly to avoid further legal issues.

The DMV Administrative Proceedings and DUI

In California, besides the criminal court, the DMV records DUI offenses. This includes data on license suspensions, revocations, and administrative actions from the DUI. While the criminal record retains a DUI for ten years from the conviction date, the DMV keeps this data for ten years from the violation date.

Law enforcement, courts, and authorized parties can access this record.

Remember, the DMV and criminal court records are separate, and each operates independently.

DUI Record Implications

Now that we have a basic understanding of how long a DUI stays on your record in California, let’s explore the implications it can have on various aspects of your life.

Impact on Employment Opportunities

A DUI on your record can hinder job opportunities, especially for roles requiring driving or a clean background. Many employers do background checks, and a DUI can question your reliability.

The effect of a DUI varies by job type and employer policies. It’s vital to be honest about a DUI during job applications, as it can be found during checks. Emphasize any post-incident rehabilitative steps, like alcohol education or counseling, to show responsibility and growth.

Impact on Insurance Rates

A DUI conviction can also significantly impact your auto insurance rates. Insurance companies often view DUI convictions as high-risk behaviors, leading to increased premiums. The increased rates may persist for several years, even after the DUI conviction is no longer on your driving record.

Legal Consequences of a DUI

Accumulating multiple DUIs within a set period can increase the severity of penalties.

  • Immediate penalties including fines, license suspension, and mandatory DUI programs.
  • Potential escalation to felony charges.
  • Extended periods of license suspension.
  • Obligation to install an ignition interlock device.
  • Risk of incarceration.

Expunging a DUI From Your Criminal Record

Wondering how long a DUI stays on your record?

It remains indefinitely unless removed. If convicted, you can potentially clear it depending on the conviction details. Under California Penal Code 1203.4, you can file a motion to dismiss the case from your record if you’ve completed probation, paid all dues, and met court requirements.

What Does Expungement Achieve?

Expunging or sealing your record stops landlords and most employers from using your conviction against you, allowing you to claim “No Criminal Record” on job forms. Yet, those applying for government jobs or licenses may still be impacted by an expunged or sealed DUI.

Furthermore, a subsequent DUI within ten years will count as a second offense, even if the first is expunged or sealed.


A DUI conviction has long-term effects. In California, it stays on your criminal record for ten years from the conviction date, while the DMV keeps it for ten years from the violation date.

A DUI can affect employment, insurance rates, and legal standings.

To lessen its impact:

  • Seek legal advice
  • Join rehabilitation programs
  • Show responsible behavior

Responsible and sober driving ensures safety and a clean record beneficial for your future.