Does a DWI Stay on Your Record Forever?

close up on police officer writing a ticket

Getting convicted of a DWI (driving while impaired) has serious consequences. In Minnesota, in addition to court costs, potential jail time, and loss of driving privileges, there is the emotional toll of a DWI. A DWI is both a criminal and traffic offense which means the conviction will show up on a background check or if someone is looking into your driving history. This could affect potential employment if you’re looking for a job or even lose your job because of a DWI depending on your career. That’s why it’s important to avoid being convicted of a DWI at all costs.

Additionally, a DWI does not automatically go away from your record after a few years. A DWI stays on someone’s record forever unless you get it expunged.

Expunging a DWI

Thanks to a new law in 2015, DWIs can be expunged in Minnesota, but it’s not an easy process. Drivers should note, though, that while a DWI may be able to be expunged from a criminal record, it will never be removed from a driving record.

Only certain classifications of DWI can be expunged. A felony DWI can never be expunged from someone’s record, but it is possible in cases that are classified as a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor. Most commonly, if someone is pulled over and only charged with a DWI, and it’s their first offense with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) less than .16, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. The DWI can be classified as a gross misdemeanor if someone refuses to take a breathalyzer test, if a child is present in the vehicle, or if the driver’s BAC is .16% or more (the legal limit is .08% or under).

Getting a DWI expunged is a lengthy process. The first step would be to make sure you are qualified to have the DWI expunged (which, as we shared, is usually possible with misdemeanors, not felonies). Then, you need to make sure the sentence conditions have been completed, including any court-mandated probations, fines, or other conditions. Additionally, to be considered for expungement, the court may require that you committed no additional crimes within at least two years or more of your conviction.

If you believe you’re eligible to have your DWI expunged, don’t take on the task alone — having an experienced attorney representing you will give you the opportunity to have the best possible outcome. Contact the team at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. today to see how we can help — (612) 444-5020.