Expunging a DUI Conviction
Tampa DUI Defense Attorneys
Expungement is a legal term that simply refers to the obliteration or destruction of past criminal records. In Florida, it is not possible to receive an expungement if you have been convicted of a DUI (or any crime). Florida law dictates that any criminal conviction must remain on your record.
The only two possible outcomes that could lead to an expungement:
- Dropping of the charges by the District Attorney
- Winning a not-guilty verdict
The hope behind expungement is to remove a criminal conviction so their past does not interfere with future prospects of education, housing, and employment, so convicted individuals can plea for post-conviction relief.
For a strong lawyer in your corner, contact the law firm of Thomas & Paulk.
Sealing Your Record
Sealing your record accomplishes a similar result to expunging it—your arrest and conviction are hidden from public view. The only real difference is that sealing a record means it still exists, but it remains hidden. While expunging is only possible when an arrest results in no action or a dismissal or charges, sealing a record is possible when the court “withholds” adjudication. DUI is the only misdemeanor crime in which withholding adjudication is not an option for the judge. As a result, sealing your record after a DUI trial is not possible.
However, if an attorney is able to lower your charges to “reckless driving,” then withholding adjudication is an option for the judge—making record-sealing possible. Skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you determine your best options, as well as fight for the outcome that best protects your interests, whether that’s getting the charges dropped, acquittal, or lowering the charges to reckless driving.
No Exceptions for Underage Offenders
Unfortunately, all DUI convictions must remain public record. For some counties in Florida, DUI defendants may be able to participate in a pre-trial diversion program. This may include community service, psychiatric evaluation, educational classes, and more. Upon completion of the pretrial class, charges may be dropped or lowered to a lesser crime (which can then be sealed). However, many counties consider DUI offenders ineligible for this program—your attorney will be able to determine your options for your region.
We Have Handled Over 7,000 Cases
With regard to DUI conviction, you truly have only one choice: hire an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. Your DUI conviction could remain on your record for 75 years by law, with no possibility of expungement or sealing. The only way to protect your future is to fight for an acquittal, dropped charges, or lowered charges. This is maximized through the power of a trial-tested, seasoned criminal defense lawyer.
At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., we provide clients with representation that truly cares about their interests. Your case matters as much to us as it does to you—we fight to protect your future and your well-being.
Drunk driving cases may or many not require a formal trial. We discuss what most can expect in terms of the process and duration of their DUI case.
At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is on the defense of DUI charges. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide-expanse of experience in helping our clients fight against such charges.
It doesn’t matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on our firm to have the experience to protect your legal rights. Often, our defense starts with recounting with you how the police officer came to stop you in the first place and how he or she came to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol. If the stop was illegal, or the tests were improperly administered, we may be able to argue for the dismissal of that evidence in court, helping your chances of a dropped charge.
The important thing is that you act quickly. Criminal cases involving charges of drinking and driving are serious and they can move fast. You cannot afford to wait or ignore your charges. You need a legal professional on your side who truly understands what you're facing so that they can offer you experience counsel and sound advice. To learn more about how a lawyer like this can assist with your case, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. Call our Tampa DUI defense attorneys at Thomas & Paulk today to schedule an initial consultation. This is a completely free, confidential appointment for you to tell us your side of the story.
If you're arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing where you can fight to save your license.
A blood alcohol reading of 0.15% or more can warrant an aggravated DUI charge with harsher penalties.
Each year, Hillsborough County issues around 4,000 DUI citations. Out of these, more than 3,000 are found guilty.
Per Florida's zero-tolerance policy, anyone under the age of 21 who tests positive for any measurable blood alcohol can be charged with DUI.