If you’ve been arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) in the Tampa area, you probably want to know how long such a charge or possible conviction will stay on your record and how it may impact various areas of your life.
Florida has pretty tough standards when it comes to DUI offenses. You cannot clear or seal a DUI charge—it will stay on your record for the rest of your life. This is true for misdemeanor or felony DUI charges and applies to first-time offenders, those with prior DUI convictions, and people who are charged with causing serious injury to another while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Fortunately, you have options if you’re facing DUI charges.
Withhold of Adjudication
If you plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), the judge may withhold adjudication, which is basically a withholding of your conviction. It will still be on your record, but you can say—truthfully and legally—that you have not been convicted of DUI. You may then be able to get that record sealed or expunged in the future.
This approach, however, does involve an admission of guilt or at least an admission that there may be enough evidence against you to support a DUI conviction. There is another approach worth mentioning.
Fighting Your Charges
While every case is different and your approach should be based on your specific circumstances and the guidance of your attorney, you have the right to plead not guilty and fight your DUI charges. This is, of course, the most effective way to keep your record clean. A Florida DUI conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life, and it will impact any future DUI arrests for up to 10 years—resulting in enhanced penalties and even a felony charge if this is your third DUI offense within 10 years.
At Thomas & Paulk, we believe in fighting for our clients. Located in Tampa and serving all of Florida, we have successfully defended thousands of clients. We know the local prosecutors and judges, and we know DUI evidence. Our lawyers can consider how to challenge your charges based on an illegal stop, contaminated evidence, a violation of your rights, or another factor you may not have considered. At times, our team can get involved early enough to prevent formal charges in the first place.
Every case deserves the time and attention of a competent Tampa DUI lawyer. If you’re facing DUI charges and want to protect your reputation, career, and freedom—take this opportunity to discuss your rights with our experienced team.
Contact us online or call (813) 321-7323 to get started!