How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California? (in 2023)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Criminal Records | April 29, 2024

Man standing next to a calendar flipping pages with his hands on his hips wonders how long does a DUI stay on your record in California while looking at the state of California and DMV driving records in California online.

Many people living in California with a DUI conviction wonder how long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

According to the law this year, DUI records remain on an individual’s criminal record for 10 years from the time the charges were initially filed.

However, individuals wondering how this will impact their background check should be aware of various exceptions and other unique laws that should be considered before applying for any jobs that perform criminal history checks.

In fact, there’s a very simple way to find out how long does a DUI stay on your record in California, just do a free name based search of public records right now.

The following guide explains the recent legal changes in CA regarding DUIs, and how to get them off your record for good.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

One of the reasons that so many people ask the question, how long does a DUI stay on your record in California, is due to the amount of misinformation regarding criminal records that exist, especially when it comes to DUI’s.

Every state has their own unique legal code for criminal violations, like driving under the influence.

Screenshot of CA Departmenf of Human Resources website page with yellow arrow pointing to criminal history background checks

In California, criminal history background checks are limited in scope and when they can be performed in this “ban the box” state.

Some of the more common misconceptions are that misdemeanors will not appear on an individual’s criminal record or will disappear after a short amount of time, or that DUI’s will simply never show up on a criminal record. Neither of these is true as any and all criminal charges that are officially filed against an individual in California will appear on their criminal record.

How long the information will appear on their criminal record is a slightly different story. California is considered a 7-year-state1 along with several other states across the country. In these states, background check agencies are not able to report on an individual’s criminal history information if the charges are older than 7 years in most cases.

In certain circumstances, such as jobs that make above a certain salary or meet other requirements, employers will be able to view the individual’s criminal history as far back as 10 years. The main reason that the 7-year rule was adopted was to limit the long-term impacts of a criminal conviction on an individual’s life, particularly when it comes to finding meaningful employment or applying for rental properties.

Screenshot of CA County of Sonoma article with yellow arrow pointing to the guidelines for conducting background checks

Not only does the state regulate how background check information can be used, each county and some cities have their own laws and regulations.

Regardless of the circumstances of the charges, a DUI will only show up on a standard background check for 10 years and in most cases only 7 years.

How Long Do DUIs Stay on Your Record?

When it comes to how long do DUI’s stay on your record outside of California, the answer is a little different. Since the only background check laws that all states must follow are those outlined by the FCRA,2 there is no limit on how far a background check can go in most of the country.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record in California?

Although how a DUI affects an individual’s criminal record is an understandable cause for concern, many individuals will also have the question: How long does a DUI stay on your driving record in California?

Although they are not a particularly common part of a background check, driving record checks will be performed for many jobs, especially those that involve driving a company car. Amazon delivery drivers, UPS drivers, Uber drivers, and more will all be subject to an MVR check through their local DMV.

An MVR report will include information on any moving violations the individual has committed as well as car accidents and DUI records.

Screenshot of City of California DMV website page for retension of driver record information with yellow arrow pointing to how long does a dui stay on your driving record in california

The California DMV outlines that violations that are over 2 points, like a DUI, means that it will remain on your driving record for 10 years.

Generally, the DMV will hold on to an individual’s DMV record for a period of 10 years although it can be shorter in certain jurisdictions.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in California?

When it comes to how long does a DUI stay on your criminal record in California, the 10-year rule still applies. Most background check agencies will be obtaining individuals’ criminal records via criminal courts in the state.3

These records in particular are what the 7-year-rule seeks to block employers from seeing once the appropriate amount of time has passed.

How Much Does Your Insurance Go Up After a DUI in California?

After being convicted of a DUI, the first question on many individual’s minds is: How much does your insurance go up after a DUI in California? Unfortunately, getting a DUI is one of the worst things that can happen as far as car insurance rates are concerned.

Most car insurance carriers will consider DUI’s to be a fairly serious matter and individuals can expect their insurance to rise upwards of 150% after the first DUI.

If the individual is convicted of multiple DUI’s then they should expect their insurance rates to double at the very least.

What Is the Cheapest DUI Insurance California?

Many individuals will want to know what is the cheapest DUI insurance California, especially after seeing their rates skyrocket after getting a DUI. Unfortunately, car insurance rates are somewhat complicated and are based on a ton of different factors resulting in everybody having an insurance rate that is unique to them.

Will a DUI From 20 Years Ago Show Up on a Background Check?

Some individuals who have been charged with a DUI in the past may be concerned about how it will affect an upcoming background check for a job or lease. This will lead them to ask questions such as: Will a DUI from 20 years ago show up on a background check?

If the individual is in California, then the DUI will not be present on a background check beyond 10 years. However, there is one notable exception to this rule.

Individuals wondering how long does a DUI stay on your record in California should be aware that the 10-year rule only applies to private background checks. Checks performed by the FBI will be able to view all records regardless of age.

Screenshot of US Courts website page with yellow arrow pointing to extern applicant supplemental background questions

A background check is used for externs in the courts in CA.

Individuals who are applying for certain jobs, such as those in the state or federal government will likely be subject to a federal background check. This background check is known as an identity history summary check and is performed by the FBI.4 Since the FBI is a federal agency, they do not need to abide by state laws and instead are only limited by the regulations of the FCRA.

This means that the FBI background check can essentially ignore the 7-year rule in any state that has it. By ignoring state laws, the FBI is able to access an individual’s entire criminal history, regardless of how long ago the crimes were committed or even if the crimes were sealed.

What if I Got a DUI Over 10 Years Ago California?

Individuals worried about a background check and wondering: What if I got a DUI 10 years ago in California will have little to worry about? Any DUI that is 10 years or older will not appear on most background checks. As mentioned the exception to this is background checks performed by the FBI, however, most employers use private background check services that will not have access to this information.

Can You Expunge Driving Record California?

Those who need to undergo an MVR check as a condition of employment will want to know: Can you expunge a driving record in California? Unfortunately, driving records can not be expunged in California. Individuals will simply need to wait until the records clear after 10 years.

How To Remove DUI From DMV Record California

After receiving a DUI many people will want to know how to remove DUI from DMV record California. Although criminal records can be sealed in certain cases, driving records are much harder to clear. Unless there are extreme circumstances like a record being made in mistake, there is no way to remove a DUI from a driving record.

How To Expunge a DUI in California Yourself

Although it is not available to everyone, those wondering how to expunge a DUI in California yourself have a few options available. California has various self-help forms available to help guide individuals through the process of getting a record expunged.5 Although there is normally a waiting period to start this process when it comes to DUI’s individuals can apply for expungement as soon as they have served their probation.

California DUI Expungement Requirements

The California DUI expungement requirements are fairly straightforward and many individuals will be surprised at how few requirements there are. In California, individuals who have been convicted of a DUI are eligible for expungement if they meet the following requirements.

  • Not currently on probation
  • Not currently facing charges for another crime
  • If the DUI sentence did not involve being incarcerated in state prison.

California DUI Expungement Form

Individuals looking for the California DUI expungement form can find it on the website of the California courts system.6

Is a DUI Automatically Expunged After 10 Years?

There are lots of rumors regarding how long various crimes stay on your criminal records, making questions like Is a DUI automatically expunged after 10 years, difficult to find an answer to.

In most states, DUI’s are never expunged and will remain on the individual’s record forever. However, California and several other states are the exception to this and will at least hide the records from public view after 10 years.

Screenshot of Superior Court of CA website page for County of Sacramento with yellow arrow pointing to expungement form walkthrough

California makes filling out expungement paperwork very easy with how to and example forms that anyone can use.

Keep in mind that this is different from expungement which is when records are destroyed as if they never existed. Expungement for DUI records is possible in California but it is never automatic.

How Much Does It Cost To Expunge a DUI in California?

After learning that DUI’s are eligible for expungement many people will want to know how much does it cost to expunge a DUI in California. The cost to file an expungement request varies from $0 to $140 based on the county.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record for a Background Check?

When it comes to how long does a DUI offense stay visible on your record for a background check, the answer in California is extremely simple. Assuming the background check is performed by a private background check service, the DUI will remain on the record for 10 years.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

How long does a DUI stay on your record in California? is an extremely common question since so many employers perform background checks these days. For most individuals, a DUI will be on their record for 7 years or 10 years at the most.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record for Employment?

People applying for jobs in California will want to know how long does a DUI stay on your record for employment. The 7-year rule mentioned above was aimed specifically at employment background checks, so a DUI will be on an employment criminal record for 10 years at most.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record for Insurance in CA?

When it comes to how long does a DUI stay on your record for insurance the answer is slightly different. Insurance companies rely on driving records rather than criminal records. Therefore the record will be available for 10 years, regardless of expungement.

Do Infractions Go on Your Record?

After getting pulled over many people will want to know does an infraction leave a mark on your driving record. Criminal records only include records of misdemeanor charges or higher, so traffic infractions only appear on driving record checks.

How Long Does Reckless Driving Stay on Your Record?

Those wondering how long does reckless driving stay on your record will probably be happy to find out that reckless driving only appears on a criminal record if it reaches the level of misdemeanor.

How Long Does a License Suspension Stay on Your Record?

When it comes to how long does a license suspension stay on your record the answer depends on the state and how long the DMV records are kept.

Generally, this will be 3-10 years.

Will a Pending Ticket Show Up on a Background Check in CA?

Some people who have a pending fine will want to know: Will a ticket that’s still pending be uncovered in a background screening? Regardless of if the ticket is pending or has already been paid it will not appear on a criminal background check but will show up on an MVR check.

Do Traffic Violations Show Up on Criminal Background Check in California?

Before undergoing a background check it is common for people to have questions like, are records of traffic violations part of criminal background check results? Traffic violations are only considered infractions and will not appear on a criminal history check.

Do Warnings Go on Your Record?

After receiving a warning from a police officer, individuals will be wondering, will warnings be noted in your criminal history? Warnings will only appear on a record if an official warning was issued in which case there will be a record with law enforcement of the instance.

Will a Car Accident Show Up on a Background Check?

Some individuals applying for jobs will be worried about their driving record and have questions like, can a background check uncover a history of car accidents? Car accidents will only appear on a background check if an MVR check is performed.

Does a No Fault Accident Go on Your Record?

Those hoping to keep their record spotless may be wondering, does a no fault accident go on your record?

All accidents, regardless of fault, will be kept on record with the DMV.

Getting a DUI can have a big impact on an individual’s ability to find employment. Luckily, individuals wondering how long does a DUI stay on your record in California will have several options available to clear their record.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

Arizona DUI’s will remain on record for 10 years.

How Long Is DUI on Your Record?

A DUI will be on your record forever unless state law allows it to be removed after 7-10 years.

Does a DUI Stay on Your Record Forever?

In most states a DUI will remain on your record forever, however many states will limit it to 10 years.

How Much Is Insurance for DUI California?

Insurance rates will rise significantly after receiving a DUI, usually upwards of 100%.

Does a Lease Violation Go on Your Record?

Lease violations only go on your record if the landlord filed a civil lawsuit against the individual.

If I Got a DUI 15 Years Ago Will It Show Up on a Background Check?

Most background checks will only go back 7-10 years although state laws allow background checks to go back further in most states.

Do Parking Tickets Go on Your Record?

You could be concerned about how even the smallest infraction might affect your job. One question comes to mind: Do parking tickets get documented in official records? Parking tickets do not go on your driving record or criminal record.

Do Traffic Warrants Appear on Background Checks?

Traffic warrants will usually only appear on background checks that include MVR checks.

Do Camera Red Light Tickets Go on Your Record?

Camera red light tickets will only appear on an individual’s driving record.


1State of California. (2022). Obligations of Employee. California Legislative Information. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from <>

2Federal Trade Commission. (2013, July 19). Fair Credit Reporting Act. FTC. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from <>

3State of California. (2022). California Judicial Branch. California Courts. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from <>

4Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2016, May 3). Identity History Summary Checks (Rap Sheets). FBI. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from <>

5State of California. (2022). Clean Your Record. California Courts. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from <>

6State of California. (2022). Forms – Cleaning Your Criminal Record. California Courts. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from <>

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