A DUI (driving under the influence) conviction can have lasting repercussions, including its impact on your criminal record. In Massachusetts, with the introduction of Melanie’s Law in 2005, a DUI remains on your criminal record forever. However, that’s not the end of the story. There are still ways that in some circumstances, can lessen the effect of an older DUI conviction on your life going forward. In this blog, we’ll explore the timeline of how long a DUI remains on your criminal record in Massachusetts and its implications.

Duration of a DUI on Your Criminal Record:

In Massachusetts, a DUI conviction remains on your criminal record indefinitely. This means that, there is no specific period after which a DUI conviction is automatically expunged or removed from your criminal record.

Implications of a DUI on Your Criminal Record:

1. Background Checks:
A DUI on your criminal record can appear during background checks conducted by potential employers, educational institutions, housing providers, and even for certain professional licenses.

2. Impact on Employment Opportunities:
Many employers consider criminal history during their hiring process. A DUI on your record might affect your chances of securing certain jobs, particularly those that involve driving, handling sensitive information, or working with vulnerable populations.

3. Professional Licenses:
Certain professions require licenses issued by regulatory agencies. A DUI conviction might pose challenges when applying for or renewing such licenses.

4. Immigration Consequences:
Non-U.S. citizens, including visa holders and permanent residents, might face immigration consequences due to a DUI conviction. It’s essential to understand how a criminal record could impact your immigration status.

5. Educational Opportunities:
Some educational institutions might consider your criminal record during the admissions process. A DUI conviction could potentially impact your eligibility for certain programs or scholarships.

Options for Mitigation:

While a DUI conviction remains on your criminal record, there are steps you can take to mitigate its impact:

– Sealing or Expungement: Massachusetts doesn’t typically allow for the expungement of criminal records for adult convictions. Therefore, expunging a criminal record is extremely difficult to do. However, many offenses contained within criminal records are eligible for sealing. If the matter was dismissed or you were found not guilty, you apply to have it sealed immediately. However, if you were convicted or received some other disposition, such as a CWOF, you can seal the record after a specific period of time. Typically, the time needed to wait is 3 years for misdemeanors and 7 years for felonies. DUIs are an offense that is eligible for sealing. A sealed record will not be seen by most employers. However, the Courts and law enforcement will still have access to them.

-Rehabilitation Programs: Successfully completing rehabilitation programs, treatment, or counseling might demonstrate your commitment to overcoming the incident and could positively influence perceptions of your character.

-Having No DUI for 10 Years: After a conviction or plea for first offense for DUI, there is a benefit if you can make it at least 10 years without incurring another one. If that happens, you may be eligible for a Cahill disposition on your second offense. While this disposition does not magically turn your second offense in to a first offense, it can cause you to receive a similar disposition to that of your first offense. Keep in mind that this is an option that the Judge has when sentencing you on a second offense DUI. It is not mandatory to that they do so. However, if it has been many years since your first offense and you have otherwise led a good law-abiding life, it is possible get this generous disposition.

Consultation with Legal Professionals:

Understanding the nuances of criminal records and their implications can be complex. It’s highly recommended to consult with lawyers who specialize in criminal law in Massachusetts. They can provide accurate information tailored to your situation and guide you on the best course of action to minimize the impact of a DUI conviction on your criminal record.


While a DUI conviction remains on your criminal record indefinitely in Massachusetts, there are strategies to mitigate its impact on your life and opportunities. Seeking legal guidance, engaging in rehabilitation programs, and demonstrating personal growth can contribute to portraying a more favorable image to the judges, potential employers, institutions, and licensing agencies. By staying informed and taking proactive steps, you can work towards minimizing the impact of a DUI conviction on your criminal record over time. If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys about your case, please call or text us at (617) 227-8383.