Special Report

Here's How Long a DUI Can Stay on Your Record in Every State

The global Covid-19 pandemic has been altering our lives in profound ways, from the way children are learning to how people are shopping. One such change has been a rise in alcohol sales in the United States.

According to market data provider Nielson, sales of alcoholic beverages have surged 24% in the first six months of the U.S. national health emergency declared in February 2020. And Americans show no signs they’re ready to give up that coping mechanism in 2021, according to industry news provider Beverage Daily.

Meanwhile, Americans have recently returned to pre-pandemic driving habits, suggesting that drinking and driving charges may soon rebound as well after a sharp decline last year, especially after more Americans get vaccinated for the virus. Here are the states where visitors don’t have to quarantine if they get tested for COVID-19.

Driving under the influence can of course have serious safety and legal consequences, and it can send your car insurance premiums through the proverbial sunroof. In 2019, the FBI reported that more than a million Americans were arrested for drunk driving, and while that number probably dropped in 2020 (the FBI data isn’t out yet) it’s likely to rebound this year as people return to the roads.  

The penalties for driving under the influence varies by state. According in Insurify, an insurance comparison-shopping website, the charges for driving under the influence can involve a first-offense non-criminal misdemeanor charge, but the punishment increases considerably for repeat offenders. Anything beyond a misdemeanor for driving under the influence becomes a spot on your criminal record that can cause offenders to lose child-custody and gun-ownership rights. Legal immigrants can lose the right to become naturalized citizens.

A DUI change can in some cases follow you for years if not the rest of your life unless you successfully apply to have your record expunged or sealed. This process varies by state, and offenders with expunged or sealed records can still suffer more severe penalties if they get caught again driving under the influence.

The following is a list of DUI penalties by state.