A DUI conviction on your driving record can have more implications than you realize. While most people are concerned with the short-term consequences of a DUI conviction, such as fines or jail time, there are many other ways a DUI can affect you in the long-term:
- Your driver’s license may remain revoked for up to two years after your first DUI conviction.
- Your employment may be terminated and locating another job may be complicated when a DUI shows up on a routine background check.
- Your automobile insurance rates will increase because of your classification as a “high-risk” driver.
Like others who have been convicted of a DUI, you might wonder how long the charge will remain on your record. The answer: It depends on the state of conviction, the details of your arrest and prior DUI arrests, if any.
It is important to know that there are two different types of records: a driving record and a criminal record. A DUI conviction affects both these records, and each has different requirements to remove your DUI from public view.
Most states have a "look-back" or "washout" period, which is defined as the amount of time needed to pass before a DUI can no longer be viewed on your driving record by anyone other than the criminal justice system and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The look-back period varies by state, ranging from five to 15 years on average, for your first DUI offense. If you are convicted of multiple DUI offenses within your state’s look-back period, you may face more severe penalties such as jail time, additional alcohol treatment classes, increased license suspension or even permanent loss of your driver’s license. If you are arrested for a DUI after serving your state’s look-back period, that current charge will be treated as a first offense on your driving record.
A few states will serve lifetime look-back period if you have acquired multiple DUI offenses within the original look-back period, meaning a DUI will remain on your driving record permanently. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state.