It’s natural to worry about the potential implications of a criminal record after a DUI charge. After all, Florida is one of the toughest states when it comes to DUI offenses. However, that doesn’t mean that a DUI charge has to haunt you for the rest of your life.
Depending on your unique circumstances, it may be possible to get a DUI case removed from your record — but you’ll need to meet certain criteria to be eligible. Continue reading for more information, or contact Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 for personalized guidance from a DUI attorney in Orlando, FL.
There are two ways to get a criminal case removed from your record in Florida: expungement and sealing. Expungement involves completely destroying all records related to the case, including court records and arrest documents. Sealing involves keeping the records in a safe place but making them inaccessible to the public.
A DUI charge may only be sealed or expunged if you were never convicted of the offense. For instance, if your charges are dropped before you’re convicted or if the court finds you not guilty following a hearing or trial. This is because only dismissals, acquittals, and dropped charges may be eligible for expungement or sealing in Florida.
This means that if you were arrested and charged with DUI but weren’t convicted, you may be eligible to get the case removed from your record. Additionally, if your charges were reduced to Reckless Driving and the Court withheld adjudication of guilt, you may be eligible to seal your record.
If you meet the criteria to have your DUI record expunged or sealed, you can seek relief by submitting a notarized application to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) with the help of a lawyer.
You’ll need to include copies of your court documents and other relevant materials to prove that your case is eligible for removal. The FDLE will then verify your eligibility; if approved, the agency will issue a certificate confirming that you’re eligible.
You’ll then need to file a request with the clerk of the court where your charges were originally filed. Next, you’ll attend a hearing, where you’ll be able to explain your case in detail and make a strong argument for having your DUI records sealed or expunged.
Ultimately, once your DUI charge becomes a conviction in Florida, there’s no way to remove it from your record. Even if you complete the associated sanctions and serve your sentence, the conviction will remain, and you’ll be required to disclose it on any job application where the question is asked.
The best way to ensure that a DUI doesn’t leave a lasting mark on your criminal record is to avoid conviction in the first place. Proactive legal defense is your greatest asset when facing DUI charges, and the right representation can help you secure the best possible outcome.
At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we have a deep understanding of Florida DUI law, and our Board Certified DUI Defense Expert attorneys are ready to fight for you. We may be able to advocate for a lesser charge, dismissal of your case, or an acquittal — all of which could leave the option open for you to have your DUI record expunged or sealed. We can also help you pursue a record removal once your case has been resolved.