Driving while under the influence (DUI), while alcohol-impaired (DWAI), or while intoxicated (DWI), is taken very seriously. Fines, jail time and losing your driver’s license for a time (or forever, for multiple offenses) can be expected. As a criminal offense, it can have an effect on your job (or your applications for a new job), child custody, your ability to own firearms, etc. Some countries won’t even allow you to enter if you have a history of a DUI.
But let’s say you had a DUI a certain amount of time ago, accepted your consequences, paid your debt to society and finally have your driver’s license back. Now let’s say you’re going out of town. You’ve learned your lesson and never, ever drink and drive anymore. With a DUI on your record, can you rent a car?
It turns out it depends on the car rental company. Each one has its own rules. Here’s what each of the major companies says:
Avis, Budget, Payless
You will not be able to rent a car from Avis or Budget if you have a citation of a DUI (driving under the influence), DWAI (driving while alcohol-impaired) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) within the last 48 months (4 years). Payless’ FAQ states, “Payless Car Rental may perform a drivers’ license check and may deny a rental car based on a negative driving record.”
Enterprise, Alamo, National
Any license which, on its face, restricts the licensee to the use and operation of a vehicle equipped with a form of a breathalyzer apparatus is not accepted from these three companies under Enterprise Holdings.
Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty
These three companies, all part of Hertz Global Holdings, don’t mention DUIs on their respective websites.
Several other smaller rental car companies such as Fox, Silvercar, Sixt, etc., don’t mention on their respective websites if you can rent from them if you have a history of a DUI/DWAI/DWI.
Is there a way around this?
Maybe. Once again, it’s complicated, as it depends on the state. After you’ve gotten a DUI and have done everything involved with the punishment for the same, you may be able to apply to get your DUI expunged. That means, if successful, it would completely remove it from your record (Note: if your DUI is expunged and you get another DUI, it would still count as your second DUI.). Or you may be in a state where it remains on your record for a few years, decades, or even forever. So again, it depends.
The bottom of this page goes over how long a DUI stays on your record and if it can be expunged from your criminal record.
The bottom line is if you have a history of DUI etc., you may eventually be able to rent a car, but it will depend on the car rental company.
Feature Photo: grendelkhan / flickr / CC by S.A. 2.0
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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I have heard many reports about DUI resulting in a ban for Americans to enter Canada, though I have no personal experience of a DUI to test these reports. It can cost thousands of dollars, years of waiting and petitioning to get a waiver.