Everyone in Florida knows that a DUI can get you arrested and sent to jail. Not fun! Similarly, many people are aware that you can be charged hefty fines and have your license suspended for DUI. Which in the state of Florida, license suspension is mandatory.
What you may not know is that there are numerous other punishments like probation or mandatory community service that can be imposed on you, not to mention the consequences tied to DUI arrests or convictions. This may affect your job, housing, credit rating, right to own a gun and other key aspects of your life forever.
Can You Can’t Get a DUI Expunged in Florida
In Florida, DUI charges are permanent and you can never have them expunged or sealed. It is against the law to acquire “a withhold of adjudication” in a DUI case. The DUI charge will stick on your records forever. It will be counted against you indefinitely.
This means that whenever any criminal check is conducted, the drunk driving charge will appear. Such background checks may be carried out in consideration of employment, admission into a professional association, insurance and rent.
Because of the very many unforeseen consequences resulting from DUI charge, it is pretty important to understand all of the relevant ramifications of a DUI. Unfortunately, if you are charged with driving under the influence and you plea to it, or are convicted after trial, it is mandatory that you receive a judgement of guilt. This is not good obviously!
Unlike other misdemeanor crimes, and some felonies, the judge has no option to “withhold” adjudication. Due to the mandatory adjudication, DUI cases can neither be sealed nor expunged.
In several areas of Florida, the office of the State Attorney gives a pre-trial diversion program. This program often excludes DUI defendants with the exception of a few counties that allow the defendant to participate.
Upon completion of the program, the attorney’s office may decide to completely drop the charge or amend it to a lesser offense. Also if it is your first offense and you can afford to hire a skilled DUI lawyer with plenty of experience, he or she can help you get your charges reduced, totally dropped, or assist in getting a not-guilty verdict after the trial.
If this happens, then expunging or sealing the charge can be attained. For example, if you manage to have the charge reduced to “Reckless Driving,” the court may withhold adjudication. With that, the defendant can then seal his or her record.
However, if charges are dropped completely or the defendant obtains a not-guilty verdict after trial, then that record may be expunged completely.
Many people are unfamiliar with the legal process when it comes to DUI charges as it can be quite confusing. If you have questions about how to go about getting DUI charges reduced so you can get your records sealed or expunged, it is advisable to hire a good lawyer to help you navigate through the tedious process. Because once you get a DUI on your record, it’s there to stay.