How Long Does a DWI Stay On My Record in Minnesota?

If you have been arrested for a DWI, you should be ready to defend yourself with the best possible legal defense. While a DWI seems like something you can get past quickly, the punishments for even first timers are harsh and will have a very long-lasting effect on your life, more so than you would expect.

The problem with a DWI conviction is not so much the court punishments. It is a misdemeanor offense and isn’t punished as harshly as violent crime, for example. However, that DWI is going to be a big black mark on your record, and it can follow you forever.


The length of a DWI charge’s stay on your record depends on which record you are looking at. It will display on both your criminal record and your driving record. A DWI on your criminal record is viewed by potential housing providers and employers. They could see it as a lack of responsibility or even an indicator of present or future alcoholism or addiction. While you are legally protected against being denied employment or housing due to race or gender, they have every right to deny you due to your criminal record.

The good news is that a DWI mark on your criminal can go away. As of 2015, those convicted of petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or gross misdemeanor crimes can have them expunged from their criminal record. For first-time DWI offenses, you are looking at a misdemeanor charge. To even consider expungement, you need to complete your sentence and pay any associated fines. If you have not committed any new crimes in a two-year span, you can file for expungement. Unfortunately, this does take time and it does take some money to do.

Alternatively, a DWI conviction will also appear on your driving record. Unless you are applying for driving-related jobs, typically your future employers won’t check this record. This is good for you as a DWI will stay on your driving record forever. Unlike your criminal record, the conviction cannot be expunged. This means someone looking 50 years from now will still be able to see it.


It is crucial to know that a DWI is also an enhancing charge. This means the more DWI convictions you have on your record, the worse the punishments will be. If you got your first DWI in 2016 and then got another in 2019, you will face much harsher penalties for that second DWI even if it was expunged from your criminal record.

When enhancing charges, they will look at your driving record where all your DWI charges are recorded and enhance the charges accordingly. However, these enhancing charges do, thankfully, have a time limit. If you got a DWI and did not get another until over 10 years later, the charge will not enhance. The enhanced punishments of a DWI charge have a 10-year time limit.


If you have been arrested for a DWI, you need to know that two years with a DWI on your criminal record is a very long time. Not only will it affect you ability to get employment, but you will also see a big spike in your insurance rates as well. Your best possible option is to not have a DWI conviction mar your public records so you don’t have to deal with these non-criminal consequences. If you are under arrest for DWI or any other criminal charge, contact us today to see what we can do to help. Let the Speas Law Firm provide you with a stalwart legal defense to protect your freedom and your record.