You may be familiar with the term “expungement” or the idea of sealing or clearing a criminal record. Depending on the type of offense and the state in which it was committed, certain convictions can essentially be removed from one’s record. This is extremely valuable nowadays, where background checks are the norm and having a criminal record may negatively impact virtually every area of one’s life, including educational opportunities, housing, professional licenses, and more.
If you were arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) in Florida, you’re probably wondering what consequences a conviction may have on you now and into the future. Or, you may already have a DUI conviction on your record and might want to know how you can get it removed. We’re here to answer your questions and offer insight based on our considerable DUI and criminal defense experience in the Tampa area and throughout Florida.
Florida’s DUI Expungement Laws
Unfortunately, we have bad news when it comes to DUI expungement in Florida. It is simply not an option. Your best bet is to avoid a conviction in the first place.
Here in Florida, a DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record for 75 years. Unless you were young when convicted and you end up living to be about 100 years old, this most likely means you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life. A misdemeanor or felony DUI will show up on background checks, and you’ll have to answer “yes” if asked by a prospective employer or another party whether you have a criminal record.
There is no need to give up hope, however. If you were recently pulled over and arrested for DUI, you should know that you have the right to an attorney. You have the right to remain silent. You should also know that DUI charges can be successfully challenged. An aggressive defense strategy can result in a dismissal of charges or a not guilty finding by the court. Even “failed” field sobriety tests, breath tests, or blood tests can be defeated. An officer’s claims about your driving behavior or mannerisms are not necessarily true or even proof enough to put you behind bars. Let a competent attorney fight to expose weaknesses in testing and the prosecuting attorney’s case, and you’ll have the opportunity to avoid a conviction in the first place. Or there’s even the option of pleading down to reckless driving, which can be cleared from your criminal record.
You have options, and you have rights. Exercise these today by calling Thomas & Paulk, P.A. at (813) 321-7323. Our Tampa DUI attorneys have fought for thousands of Floridians and know what it takes to preserve our clients’ futures.