2024 How Long Does A DUI Stay on Your Record in North Carolina?

Also referred to as driving while intoxicated, or DWI, being found guilty of DUI in North Carolina can have long-term implications for your record. The court considers a defendant’s history of DUI when sentencing any potential future DUI convictions for a given length of time, which is known as a lookback period. If you’ve been charged with DUI, hiring an experienced DUI lawyer can help you navigate the state’s DUI laws.

In addition to potential legal repercussions such as costly fines, suspension or permanent loss of your driver’s license, and even jail time in certain instances, a DUI conviction on your record can negatively affect your ability to pass background checks. This might create obstacles to securing housing and employment. Having a DUI in your criminal history could also make it more difficult and expensive for you to obtain motor vehicle insurance as required by the state.

Understand how being found guilty of DUI in North Carolina can have lasting effects that complicate your life and cost you significant amounts of money for years after the conviction.

DUI Convictions and Driving Records in North Carolina

The North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan, or SDIP, encourages safe and sober driving. The SDIP operates as a points system, and issues points to drivers for certain driving infractions and convictions that stay on your record for up to three years. The points issued range from one point for minor infractions to 12 points for the most severe or significant convictions, which includes DUI. The state reports any points on your record to motor vehicle insurance providers.

If you accrue 12 or more points in a three-year period, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles suspends your driver’s license. The license suspension period for DUI convictions lasts at least 12 months or longer, depending on the number of DUI convictions on your record as a driver. A second DUI conviction results in a four-year suspension of your driver’s license, and a third DUI conviction leads to permanent suspension.

You may also lose your driver’s license for 12 months if you refuse a chemical test to determine if you’re under the influence of substances at the time of your arrest for DUI. Even if you’re later found not guilty of DUI, you will still lose your license for a year by declining chemical testing.

Having your driver’s license reinstated after suspension from a DUI conviction can be costly and complicated. If you lose your license after being found guilty of DUI, expect to pay a fee to have your license restored. You may also have to cover the costs to participate in an alcohol assessment or treatment program in addition to having an interlock ignition device installed in your vehicle at your expense.


Q: How Long Before a DUI Is Off Your Record in North Carolina?

A: The lookback period for a DUI in North Carolina depends on the type of DUI conviction. You could be found guilty of either a misdemeanor or felony DUI in this state. Misdemeanor DUI convictions stay on your record for seven years, whereas the lookback period for felony DUI is ten years. DUI convictions cannot be expunged from your record in North Carolina and will stay on your record for the length of the lookback period.

The penalties could increase if the court determines you are guilty of any subsequent DUI charges during the seven-year lookback period for misdemeanor DUI and the decade-long lookback period for felony DUI convictions.

Q: What Are the DUI Laws in North Carolina?

A: The state defines impaired driving laws under North Carolina General Statute 20-138.1. This statute declares it is unlawful to drive any vehicle on any highway, street, or public vehicular area while under the influence of an impairing substance, including alcohol. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is 0.08 in North Carolina. The limit is lower for drivers of commercial vehicles at 0.04.

This statute also declares it to be illegal to drive after taking any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance as outlined in NCGS 90-89. This includes opiates, synthetic cannabinoids, certain stimulants and depressants, and hallucinogenic substances.

While marijuana is a Schedule VI controlled substance in North Carolina, it is also considered to be an impairing substance. It is possible to be found guilty of a DUI for driving while under the influence of marijuana in this state.

Q: How Much Does Insurance Increase After DUI in North Carolina?

A: The state outlines insurance rate increases within the Safe Driver Incentive Plan, or SDIP, for certain driving infractions or convictions, including DUI. If you are found guilty of DUI in North Carolina, you could face a 340% rate increase for car insurance. This means a $120 monthly car payment would rise to $528 a month.

Your insurance company may also determine you are too risky to insure and decide it’s in their interest to no longer provide coverage to you after a DUI conviction. They might choose not to renew your insurance plan at the end of your plan’s coverage date or drop you entirely.

Q: Can You Get a DUI Dropped in North Carolina?

A: It is difficult to have a DUI dismissed in North Carolina. A possible way for your DUI case to be dismissed is if the evidence being used against you was obtained improperly. Examples include a lack of probable cause for the officer to stop you or if there were errors in the administration of your field sobriety test.

Working with an attorney who has experience defending individuals facing DUI charges can help improve the chances of a positive outcome for your case. An attorney with in-depth knowledge of the state’s DUI laws can review your case for issues with your DUI arrest that could be grounds for dismissing your charge.

Talk With an Attorney About Your DUI Case

If you’ve been charged with DUI, we understand how confusing and intimidating it can be to work through the legal system alone. On top of the fines and the possibility of jail time, you’re also facing the potential for long-term consequences with a DUI on your record for up to 10 years, depending on the conviction. Contact Lassiter & Lassiter Attorneys at Law today for a consultation on your DUI case.

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Attorney Mike Lassiter grew up in Statesville, makes his living serving the people of Statesville and published a book capturing the changing landscape of small town life across North Carolina and Iredell County. His keen sense of history, dedication to the area and 30 years of legal experience make him an ideal attorney for your legal needs.

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