Altruism Counseling

How Long Does A DUI Stay on Your Record

“It’s only been a few drinks, I’m fine…”

We’ve all heard these words – from friends, family, or ourselves. Yet alcohol can quickly impair your judgment, making it impossible to know whether or not it’s safe to drive. Even a couple of drinks can push you past the legal limit, and driving under the influence (DUI) has significant legal and financial consequences.

A DUI can result in heavy fines, a suspended license, difficulty finding employment, and even prison time. Yet despite this, the FBI reports that over 1-in-10 arrests are for DUIs, with more than 1 million people arrested for driving under the influence each year. Why are so many people willing to risk these consequences? If you’re arrested, how long does a DUI stay on your record?

At Altruism Counseling Services, community support and education are core parts of what we do. We believe that by caring for one another, we can build a path not only toward recovery, but toward a stronger community. That’s why today, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about DUIs.

Why a DUI on Your Record Matters

A DUI on your record can have a significant impact on your future. This is a serious offense, and if repeated can be classified as a felony. While the specific consequences vary from state to state, these generally fall into several distinct areas.

Legal Consequences

If you get a second or subsequent DUI, or other legal violation, having a DUI on your record will result in higher penalties. In Kentucky for example, if you already have a DUI on your file, a second DUI can result in up to 30 days in jail. A third can result in more than a year of jail time, and a fourth will be classified as a felony.

Increased Insurance Rates

Insurance providers often raise monthly costs after a DUI, as they consider you a higher risk. According to Forbes, the cost of insurance increases by an average of 70% after a DUI conviction. In Kentucky, this number is even higher, at 76%!

Limited Employment Opportunities

When employers conduct background checks, a DUI can show up on your record. Particularly for jobs that involve driving, travel, or handling alcohol, this can significantly hinder your employment prospects. This can cause hiring problems in other industries as well.

Difficulties Finding Housing

Similar to in a job search, many potential landlords will run a background check. When they see a DUI on your record, this can result in increased deposits, or a denial of your application. This can complicate the process with banks as well, in the event you look to purchase a home and need a loan.

Travel Restrictions

If there is a DUI on your record, some countries will refuse to issue you a visa or allow you to enter their nation. Mexico and Canada are two countries that follow this policy, and you may be denied entry based on a previous DUI. While this will come down to your specific border agent, this risk is always present.

how to get a dui off your record in kentucky

How Long a DUI Stays on Your Record

How long a DUI will stay on your record will depend on the state the offense was committed in. However, it’s important to first make the distinction between your driving record and your criminal record.

Criminal Record vs. Driving Record

Your criminal record only includes criminal offenses and information. This can include documents, information, and offenses registered by the court system or law enforcement agencies. These can be related to anything from minor theft to drug charges, and driving convictions. Even if you aren’t convicted, simply being charged with a crime can show up in your criminal history.

However, your driving record focuses only on your specific vehicle-related history. This includes driving convictions, but also things that won’t show up on your criminal record. Minor traffic violations, accident reports, speeding tickets, and parking violations will not typically be included in your criminal record, but all will show up in your driving record.

The differences between these two categories may seem superficial, but are important to understand. The consequences of the two vary widely: for example, while a criminal record will show up in background checks, many car insurance agencies only check your driving record. Further, each has its own distinct process to remove a DUI from your record.

Things That Can Affect How Long a DUI Is on Your Record

How long a DUI will show up on your record will vary widely from state to state. If something is removed from your record, this is known as “expunging” the record. In some regions, you can expunge your record after only a few years. In others, the DUI can show up permanently.

In some states, such as Ohio, a DUI conviction only shows up on your driving record for 2 years. After that, it automatically falls off your driving record. However, it will remain on your criminal record forever, with no ability to expunge it.

In Kentucky, a DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for up to 5 years. However, it can be expunged from your criminal record after a period of 10 years, if certain conditions are met. Repeated offenses can complicate this process or prevent it altogether.

How to Get a DUI off Your Record in Kentucky

In Kentucky, DUI convictions do not “fall off” your record automatically after time passes. This is a common misconception. Even if you wait 5, 10, or 15 years, a DUI will remain on your criminal record. However, there is a way to clear your record completely.

To expunge a DUI requires following a specific legal process, and can at first seem overwhelming. You have to wait at least 10 years from the date of the last incident, pay off all of any fees or penalties from the case, then fill out the appropriate paperwork. This requires an additional processing fee, the amount depending on whether the DUI was classified as a felony.

However, resources are available to guide you through this process. To help, the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy has put together a guidebook covering each step in detail.

getting help for alcohol use disorder in lexington kentucky

Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder in Lexington, Kentucky

Many people can quickly find themselves trapped in what feels like an inescapable cycle of alcohol addiction. Things can spiral out of control, especially when alcohol use leads to serious consequences like DUIs. However, it’s important to know that help is always available. At Altruism Counseling Services, we treat every client as an individual. We believe you come from your own unique experiences, challenges, and background. That’s why our team utilizes individualized assessments for alcoholism treatment, working by your side to find a path forward.

At Altruism Counseling Services, we provide effective treatment for alcohol use disorder, and offer the lowest-cost DUI program in the state of Kentucky. We provide you the tools you need for recovery and for the rest of your life. If you’re ready to take the first steps toward a healthier future, call us at 859-310-6505 today, or connect with us through our contact page.

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Frequently Asked Questions About DUIs and Records

Q: How can I check my driving record?

A: This will depend on your location, and you can generally find more information at your state’s BMV or DMV website. For Kentucky, you can obtain a 3-year driving record for any individual. For records further back, this requires permission from that individual.

Q: I was arrested for a DUI, but the charges were dropped. Will that still show up on my record?

A: This will vary from state to state. In Kentucky, if charges are dropped without being part of a plea bargain or other extenuating circumstance, then the record will be expunged within 30 days.

Q: Are DUIs only for alcohol?

A: No. A DUI can apply to many substances in addition to alcohol, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or others.

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