Clearing Your Record After DUI
As if being arrested for DUI and having to go through both the administrative and criminal processes of your case is not bad enough, you will forever have a mark on your criminal record following a DUI arrest. Depending on the outcome of your case, there may be a way for your record to be cleared so that you can go on living as normal a life as possible without this dark cloud hanging over you.
Depending on your prior criminal history, you may be eligible to seal or expunge your DUI from your record, eliminate it from public view and oftentimes deny it ever happened. Being able to seal or expunge your arrest greatly depends on how your case ultimately resolved. If you had your DUI case dropped or charges were dismissed, you may be eligible to apply for sealing or expungement. If your case resolved by your DUI being dismissed and the charges being reduced to reckless driving, assuming you received a withhold of adjudication (meaning you were not formally convicted), you may also be eligible to apply for sealing or expunging.
However, if you were found guilty after a trial, plead guilty or no contest to DUI you will likely be ineligible to seal or expunge your record as Florida law calls for mandatory adjudication on a DUI charge.
Difference between record sealing and expungement in Florida
If your DUI charges were either dropped by the State or dismissed by the Judge and did not proceed to trial, you may eligible to apply to have your DUI arrest expunged from your criminal record.
If your case resulted in a “breakdown” or reduction of the DUI charges to reckless driving and you received a withhold of adjudication, you may be eligible to apply to have your record sealed.
Once you get your record sealed the public will not have access to it. You can legally deny that it ever happened, meaning you can answer “no.” There are some government agencies that will still have access to a record that has been sealed. When your record has been expunged, those same government agencies will only be able to see that your record has been expunged but will not be able to see the full record without a court order.
Please note, however, that because we live in the information age where pretty much everything is available at a moment’s notice, your record may never completely disappear. There are third-party websites and services that have access to public information and then proceed to plaster it all over the internet.
Record sealing and expungment is a rather straightforward yet tiresome and drawn-out process filled with many requirements and deadlines. Let me guide you through the requirements and make sure that all the necessary steps are taken to erase this mistake from your record.