Many DUI drivers plead guilty to drunk driving thinking that the only penalties they face are high fines, probation, a license suspension and potential jail time. What they do not realize is that when they apply for certain professional licenses or for employment their employer may be able to access their criminal record and deny them employment if they have been arrested or convicted of a DUI.
Expunging my criminal record in Florida
There are certain types of criminal records which can be expunged, which include the actual physical destruction of the criminal record. This should be done by the court and the law enforcement agencies which have the records.
Unfortunately, if you have your criminal record expunged there are times that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has the legal right to notify certain groups of the expungement, although details of your arrest record are not disclosed. If you apply for employment or a license from the following agencies FDLE may notify them you have had your record expunged:
- Any criminal justice agency
- The Department of Juvenile Justices
- Department of Children and Family Services, Agency for Health Care Administration
- Agency for Persons with Disabilities –
- A contractor or licensee dealing with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or elderly
- The Department of Education, district school board or school that licenses child care facilities
- The Florida Bar
Your other option may be to seal your record. Sealing the record, however, does not destroy the records. The files and information still exists, but it is sealed from the public’s requests to view the information and anyone who wishes to view the record must request a Court Order.
The goal of sealing or expunging a criminal record is to allow you to have a fresh start. In fact, if you are asked if you are arrested on an employment or housing application you can legally answer no if the record has been expunged or sealed.
While the process seems simple enough, it may be difficult to accomplish on your own. Florida has specific statutes which are outlined in the Florida Statutes and Rules of Procedures which must be carefully followed to get a successful expungement. If you are a repeat offender or if you have committed certain crimes the state of Florida will not allow you to seal or expunge your record. That leads us to a DUI conviction.
Can My DUI conviction in Florida be expunged?
Many drivers search the internet and see advertisements for companies who are offering to expunge a drunk driving charge; the truth of the matter is that Florida does not allow you to expunge or seal your DUI conviction.
Now that’s bad news for many drivers, but there is a bit of good news. There are certain DUI charges (not convictions) that may be expunged which include the following:
- If your DUI charges were dismissed by the state
- If your DUI charges were not prosecuted
- If your DUI charges were thrown out of court
Unfortunately, under Florida state laws, if you are arrested for DUI, charged for DUI, your case is brought to court but you are acquitted, your record will also not be expunged or sealed. The state has argued that your right to have your DUI case expunged is less important than the public’s right to access public records.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida it is time to talk to a DUI lawyer.
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