How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Criminal records stay with you for life. If you are convicted of impaired driving, driving over 0.08 or refusing to provide a sample of breath, all commonly known as DUI, you will immediately get a criminal record. This record will appear anytime police or a third-party such as an employer conducts a criminal background check on you.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

What is a Criminal Record?

A criminal record is an entry on a database maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS). This database contains information about a person’s criminal history, including all convictions for which a pardon has not been granted, all charges regardless of disposition, outstanding warrants and charges.

How Do I Remove My Criminal Record? 

The only way to remove your DUI record is to apply for a record suspension, also known as a pardon. A record suspension allows people convicted of a criminal offence to have their criminal record removed once they have completed their sentence and committed no further criminal offences for a prescribed period of time. The waiting period is dependant on whether your matter proceeded by way of indictment or summary conviction. Almost all DUI offences proceed by way of summary conviction which means you will have to wait 5 years from the end of your sentence. Once convicted of a DUI, you will be given a one-year driving prohibition. The clock doesn’t start ticking until the driving suspension is complete which means you will have to wait 6 years from your date of conviction before you can apply for a record suspension.

Crimes that Make You Inadmissible to the United States

Even if you receive a record suspension in Canada, your conviction will not be removed in the United States. All criminal records are shared with the Americans and are never removed from their database. This means that even if you are pardoned for a conviction in Canada, it will follow you every time you travel to the United States. You can be barred from entry for a wide variety of offences, even some that are relatively minor. Fortunately, a DUI conviction does not bar you from entry to the United States but may still cause unwanted complications. 

Below is a list of crimes that will make you inadmissible to the United States:

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude. This includes any attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime. It excludes crimes committed when the person was under the age of 18 years, so long as the person was released from jail more than five years before applying for a visa or other immigration benefit. It also excludes crimes for which the maximum penalty did not exceed one year in prison and the person was not, in fact, sentenced to more than six months in prison. See the more complete list of crimes of moral turpitude below.
  • A controlled substance violation according to the laws and regulations of any country. This includes trafficking and any conspiracy to commit such a crime. This includes a single offense of simple possession for a small amount of THC residue or for “drug paraphernalia.” It also includes the spouse, son, or daughter of the inadmissible applicant if that person has, within the last five years, received any financial or other benefit from the illicit activities, and knew or reasonably should have known where the money or benefit came from.  No actual conviction is required to trigger this inadmissibility.
  • Convictions for two or more crimes for which the prison sentences totaled at least five years. It does not matter whether the convictions came from a single trial or whether or not the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct.
  • Prostitution or commercialized vice.
  • A serious criminal activity for which immunity from prosecution has been received
  • Human trafficking offenses.
  • Almost anything that has to do with money laundering.
  • Do not even attempt to enter the U.S. if you have been previously deported without a proper visa. This is considered a serious felony under U.S. law and can result in extended jail time.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude

The definition of moral turpitude is very broad and constantly changing. Below is a list of the most common offences found in this category:

  • Passing Bad Cheques
  • Assault Causing Bodily Harm or With Intent to Cause Harm
  • Assault with a Weapon
  • Assault with intent to cause bodily harm
  • Aggravated Assault. “Aggravated felony” is even worse, though these also have a very loose definition, therefore the offences can change over time. However, there is absolutely no relief, and anyone deported or excluded for this reason cannot ever enter the US.
  • Sexual Assault
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Trespass with Intent to Commit a CIMT
  • Endangerment and Actual Injury
  • Child Abuse in some cases
  • Benefitting from illicit drug trafficking.
  • Prostitution and commercialized vice.
  • Involvement in serious criminal activity, where the person has asserted immunity from prosecution, departed the United States as a result, and not subsequently submitted to the jurisdiction of the relevant U.S. court.
  • Human trafficking, whether inside or outside the United States.
  • Laundering or aiding or abetting monetary instruments.


Avoid a DUI Criminal Record

A criminal record can have lifelong impacts on your employment, immigration status and ability to travel. The best way to avoid having to worry about a DUI criminal record is to avoid a conviction by hiring an experienced DUI lawyer to defend you. 


About Cory Wilson

Cory has represented individuals from all walks of life including lawyers, police officers, athletes, corporate executives, teachers, and everything in between. Cory believes in access to justice for every person charged with a criminal offence regardless of their economic background.

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Tel: 403-978-6052