How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Florida?

police officer approaching driver in car during traffic stop

A DUI conviction can have long-lasting consequences. In fact, the conviction appearing on a person’s criminal record will follow the driver long after their other penalties have been completed. Will a DUI conviction be removed from a driver’s record after a certain amount of time passes? Or are drivers convicted of DUI forced to keep that blemish forever? Let’s discuss how the state of Florida handles DUI conviction records.

DUI Expungement for Florida Drivers

In some states, you can have a DUI conviction removed from your record. In Florida, however, you can never expunge a DUI conviction. Once you are found guilty and convicted, it is a permanent part of your record.

There are only two ways that you can prevent having a DUI on your record: one, the charges are dropped before you are convicted. DUI charges may be dropped for a variety of reasons, like a lack of evidence or other factors that cause the prosecution to stop pursuing the case.

The second way you can prevent a DUI conviction from appearing on your record is if the court finds you not guilty after trying your case. This means that you took your DUI case to trial and were found not guilty by a judge or jury. It’s important to note that if you accept a plea bargain, you plead guilty and forfeit your right to a trial and a possible not guilty verdict.

DUI Expungement for Out-of-State Drivers

Some drivers have a DUI conviction in Florida but a clean driving record in their home state. You might be wondering- how would this type of conviction appear on your record and if it can be expunged.

Most states share DUI record information through the Driver’s License Compact. This is an agreement between 45 states to share driver traffic violation records under the motto ‘One Driver, One License, One Record.’ This means that your DUI in Florida, even if it is not your home state, will be on your record in each of the 45 states included in the Driver’s License Compact (5 states are not members of this agreement). Expungement for this type of offense is the same as expungement for a Florida resident’s DUI (see above).

The Effects of a DUI Conviction

After a DUI conviction, you face the common criminal penalties of paying fines, serving jail time, long-term license suspension, and more. However, a DUI conviction can also affect numerous other aspects of your life that you may not be aware of.

Employment: After a DUI conviction, you may lose your job or struggle to find work. This is especially true if you work in a career where the safety of others is your responsibility, or if you are a professional driver. Current and prospective employers may worry that you are a liability if you have a DUI conviction on your record, especially in the recent past.
Insurance: Insurance companies will also penalize you financially for getting a DUI. Your rates may go up substantially after a conviction, making car insurance unaffordable for some.
Travel: Did you know that you are unable to travel to some countries with a DUI on your record? It’s true; some countries, like Canada and Mexico, have barred entry for those convicted of DUI. Even if you can travel to your desired destination, you will likely run into major obstacles when attempting to rent a car.

These are just a few of the ways a DUI conviction can continue to affect you for many years after serving your punishment. You want to do everything in your power to avoid a DUI conviction, whether that means getting your charges reduced, case dismissed, or reaching a not guilty verdict. Working with a DUI defense attorney is crucial for a positive outcome in any of these scenarios.

DUI Defense in Tampa, Florida

You never want to underestimate the effects of a DUI conviction on your record. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, it’s important to take it seriously and work with a defense attorney. Our team at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. has helped save countless Florida drivers from the harsh effects of a DUI conviction, and we want to help you too. Share the details of your case with us today; call (813) 221-4200 to get started.

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