Can a Florida DUI Be Expunged?Published: Feb 24, 2020 by Erika Valcarcel
You may wonder, “Can a Florida DUI be expunged?” The answer is that it depends. If you were convicted of driving under the influence, then it can’t be expunged. However, if you were just charged, you were convicted of a lesser offense, or the case was dismissed, then you may be able to clear your record.
It’s important to act immediately when you’re arrested for DUI. Your best option is to avoid a conviction altogether. By working with a knowledgeable Sarasota DUI attorney at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., you can review all your options from the beginning, and hopefully, prevent your DUI charge from turning into a conviction.
For a free consultation, contact us right away at (941) 363-7900.
Expunging or Sealing Your DUI Arrest or Charge
Having a DUI on your record can have many adverse effects on your life. Along with jail time and various fines, you may encounter trouble finding employment and housing with a DUI on your record. Considering these factors, it’s understandable that your mind would turn to possible DUI expungement. Expungement is the legal term for removing a criminal offense from your record.
However, in Florida, it is not possible to receive an expungement if you have been convicted of a DUI. While a DUI conviction will permanently remain on your record, you may have the option of sealing the arrest record if your DUI was dismissed, you were acquitted at trial, or your DUI was reduced to certain lesser offenses. This is similar to an expungement in that it will hide your DUI arrest from public view, but it will still technically exist.
Under Florida law, you may only seal a DUI arrest under specific circumstances, but if your situation falls into this category, and you are otherwise eligible, this may provide some relief when it comes to background checks.
Circumstances Under Which You May Expunge Your Florida DUI
If you have been convicted of a DUI, whether you plead guilty or no contest to the charges, there is no way to remove that conviction from your record. This remains true if you were convicted at trial. If you are not convicted, however, there are scenarios in which you can get your DUI arrest or charge removed from your record.
If you were arrested or charged with a DUI, but the case was later dismissed, or the charges were dropped, you may be eligible to have your DUI record expunged or sealed. Furthermore, if the charge is later decreased to a lesser count, such as reckless driving, you may also be eligible to expunge your DUI arrest.
The DUI Expungement Process
Under Florida law, DUI convictions cannot be expunged, but when applicable to expunge or seal a DUI arrest you must first submit an application to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. You will need a certified form of disposition from either the court that processed your case or the law enforcement agency that handled your arrest. Your application will also need to be notarized.
If the Florida DLE grants your expungement eligibility, you will receive a certificate stating so. Typically, this certificate will remain valid for only six months.
You must next file a request with the court in the district where your charges were filed. The proper application forms can be obtained by talking to the clerk of that court. A portion of this application will also need to be notarized.
All documents must then be filed, along with your DLE certificate of eligibility, with the clerk of the court. An additional copy of your application must be filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
You should be prepared to attend a hearing, during which you may explain to the judge why your arrest record should be sealed or expunged. It’s best to work with an attorney who can develop an argument for you and fight for your rights at a hearing.
A Skilled DUI Attorney Can Help You Get Your Record Expunged
A DUI conviction can show up on background checks when you apply for housing, school, or a job. If you are currently facing a DUI charge or an old DUI arrest is complicating your life Erika Valcarcel at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. has the experience and skills to help.
To set up a free consultation, call (941) 363-7900 today.