How Long Does an OUI/DUI Stay On Your Record?

If you are convicted of an OUI or you case is continued without a finding, it can stay on your criminal record for life, and on your driving record for at least ten years (you may have it petitioned to be removed after ten years). Our Massachusetts DUI attorney explains further.

How long an OUI stays on your record depends on whether there has been a conviction or merely an arrest—or something in between like a plea or diversion program. It also depends on which “record” is being considered, whether it be your criminal record (“RAP sheet”) or merely your driving record.

If you have been arrested, but your case was dismissed prior to arraignment, there will be no criminal record. A Massachusetts criminal case will only show on your record after you have been arraigned and entered a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.” A Massachusetts clerk magistrate's hearing, also known as a show-cause hearing, does not show on your Massachusetts criminal record. 

If you have been arrested and arraigned, but not convicted (and did not enter a guilty plea) then the arraignment will show up on your criminal record, but will of course not show up as a conviction. You can petition the court to have your criminal record sealed and/or expunged so that the arraignment is no longer visible.

Petition to Seal dui law with gavel

You can petition to seal if you have been convicted of (or pleaded guilty to) an OUI, and the conviction will be visible on your record for life – MA has a “lifetime lookback” rule that allows the state to look back indefinitely at your prior OUI record.

Massachusetts employers are not able to use your arrest records during a hiring process, but any convictions will show up on a CORI check and can be used during a hiring process to make a decision.

Subject to certain conditions (e.g., you have no more than two prior incidents that led to criminal charges and any offenses did not result in death or serious bodily injury), you may also petition to seal and/or expunge your record after three years for misdemeanors and after seven years for felonies.

The sealing process for conviction records is governed by MGL c. 276, § 100A. You can ask the Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS) to seal some criminal convictions. You can ask to seal a criminal record under these circumstances:

  • Misdemeanor — 3 years after you were found guilty or after any jail or prison time, whichever date is later.
  • Felony — 7 years after you were found guilty or after any jail or prison time, whichever date is later.
  • Additionally, you can move to seal a conviction for resisting arrest.

The non-conviction sealing process is governed by MGL c. 276, § 100C. You can ask the court where the offense originated to request to seal a criminal court record without a conviction for the following case results:

  • Not guilty finding  by a court or a jury
  • No bill returned by a grand jury (failure to indict)
  • No probable cause finding by a court
  • Dismissal without probation entered by a court
  • Nolle prosequi entered (entry on the record of no further prosecution by the prosecutor)
Nate Amendola
Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, helping resolve OUI, domestic violence, drug and criminal charges
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