Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

How to Get Your DUI Arrest Records

Suppose you've been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Your interactions with the criminal justice system may be a matter of public record. The hard truth is that one simple DUI arrest can haunt you in several ways. This is true even if the DUI charges were dropped or never filed in the first place. Even a clerical error, left unchecked, can cause headaches.

Your DUI arrest record may be all a potential employer needs to see to eliminate you from consideration for a job. It likely won't matter that charges were never filed or that it's your first DUI. It may sound unfair, but your police record can significantly influence your future plans. This could also come up if the job for which you're applying requires you to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL). An employer may require a clean driving record. They may rule out a DUI offender right away.

It's important to know what arrest records are out there. That information can help determine your eligibility for DUI expungement.

This article provides information on how to obtain your DUI arrest records, including state-specific examples. There's also an explanation as to why you might need to access these records.

Arrest Records, Court Records, and Rap Sheets

Before you begin looking for your records, it's essential to understand the differences among police records, court records, and rap sheets. Each of these tracks your criminal background and criminal offenses in a different way.

Your court records include actual convictions and related court proceedings. Your police records include all recorded interactions with the police. That includes arrests that don't result in charges or a conviction, stretching back up to seven years. Police records show convictions for misdemeanor or felony offenses, including prior DUI offenses. Your record of arrests and prosecutions — often called a "rap sheet" for short — contains any contact you've had with the criminal justice system. A rap sheet is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The limits of what records a third party, such as an employer, may access and use for decision-making are subject to federal and state law. Limits sometimes vary by county. Enforcement of these laws can be difficult, though. However, third-party access to your rap sheet is limited to certain state and federal agencies for background checks and security clearances.

Arrest records of juveniles aren't generally available to the public. Also, police records considered too sensitive for release may be barred from public view. For instance, if the release of records would endanger someone's life or interfere with an investigation, the release would be prohibited.

Accessing Your DUI Arrest Records: The Basics

The process for accessing your police records will vary by state and jurisdiction. Some police departments require you to contact them directly for arrest records. Others make them available online. To obtain a copy of your rap sheet, you must submit a signed application and a set of fingerprints to the FBI, along with a processing fee.

Several privately operated sites aggregate publicly available police and court records, sometimes for a fee. If you aren't sure where to look, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) website is a good starting place.

Keep in mind that a DUI is a traffic violation in addition to being a criminal offense. Therefore, a DUI is likely to show up on your department of motor vehicles (DMV) records.

Below is a non-exhaustive sampling of state-specific resources:

Need Help with Your DUI Records? Talk to an Attorney

Have you taken a Breathalyzer or other breath test and exceeded the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after being pulled over for drunk driving or driving while intoxicated (DWI)? If you want to expunge a DUI conviction or arrest, you must first access your arrest records. Consider talking to a DUI attorney if you have questions about DUI laws, arrest records, jail time, or issues like license suspension or loss of driving privileges.

Take your record seriously. Get started today by contacting an experienced DUI lawyer to help with your DUI case or records. The consequences of a DUI arrest can vary depending on whether this is your first offense or a second or third DUI. A defense attorney can help you with your criminal convictions and challenge breath or blood test results.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps

Contact a qualified DUI attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex DUI situations usually require a lawyer
  • DUI defense attorneys can challenge Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer or blood test results
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate DUI penalties
  • A lawyer can help get your license back

Get tailored advice and ask your legal questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options