If you have a DUI on your record, it can cause a wide range of problems for a long time.
Can you expunge a DUI in Florida? It is feasible and can be completed for certain drivers. It will depend on the circumstances of your particular case. Florida law allows for expungement only in specific scenarios – and the court needs to be convinced that the DUI should be removed from your record.
Understanding Florida’s stance on the qualifications to pursue a DUI removal and how to expunge a DUI in Florida is necessary to move forward with the next steps in your case. This guide to “Can you expunge a DUI in Florida?” will provide an in-depth discussion of the answers, explaining the complexity of the issue and the significance of DUIs on your permanent record.
Florida’s Stance on Expunging a DUI From Your Record
Florida statutes pertaining to DUI expungement are clear. Under Statutes 943.059 and 943.0584, the state’s stance is this: it is not possible to get a DUI expunged if you have been adjudicated guilty of driving under the influence. A conviction for DUI makes you ineligible.
Understanding this legal aspect is crucial for anyone facing a DUI charge. It is not a time to be complacent. A DUI conviction stays on your permanent record.
However, if you have been arrested and charged with DUI and have yet to go through the full adjudication process, you may meet the criteria for DUI expungement.
Criteria for DUI Expungement in Florida
When answering the question, “Can a DUI be expunged in Florida?” you have to know the criteria the state considers for eligibility to pursue the process.
Florida law provides the details. Here are the eligibility conditions for DUI expungement:
- If you were arrested or charged with DUI and the case was dismissed.
- If you were arrested or charged with DUI and the charges were dropped.
- If you were arrested or charged with DUI and the charges were reduced.
In addition, your prior criminal history will matter. If you do not have a prior conviction on your record, you may be eligible to expunge or seal your Florida DUI.
An expungement may be able to take place if the DUI charge was either dismissed by the judge or the charge was dropped by the State of Florida. You may be eligible to have your record sealed if the charges were reduced, such as changed to “reckless driving.”
Once an expungement or sealing is completed, the public will not have access to that record, and you can legally deny the charge occurred. Additionally, you can answer “no” when asked if you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime.
It is important to note that with a sealed record, certain government agencies will still have access to it. This is generally relevant when applying for certain government jobs. When your DUI charge is expunged, these government agencies would need a court order to gain full access to your record.
How to Expunge a DUI in Florida
The state has a strict, detailed process to expunge a DUI in Florida. Each step needs to be performed correctly to reach approval from the courts.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to expunge a DUI in Florida:
First, an application needs to be filled out, notarized, and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). With this application, the details of the case must be included. This will be a certified form of disposition from the law enforcement agency that handled the arrest or from the particular court that processed the case.
The FDLE will then review the application. If they grant eligibility for expungement, a certificate is issued to the applicant. The certificate is typically valid for six months.
Next, another application must be filed with the court in the same district where the initial DUI charges were filed. This can be obtained through the clerk of the court’s office. A notary is also required on a part of this application.
All corresponding documents, as well as the certificate of eligibility from the FDLE, need to be filed with the clerk of the court. A duplicate application packet must also be filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
These applications will then be reviewed to determine if approval for the expungement is warranted. Potentially, there may be a court hearing. It is important to be prepared to explain to the judge why your record should be expunged.
Getting a DUI expunged is complex and requires strong knowledge of the process. Legal assistance is recommended.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a DUI Expunged?
The financial aspects of getting a DUI expunged should be considered, But it is important to know that the costs are nominal in contrast to the consequences of not getting an expungement.
The fee to submit the FDLE application is $75.00. Additional court costs typically range from $50.00 -$75.00. Small fees are also needed for notaries and certified copies of documents. Attorney fees are generally in the hundreds of dollars and will depend on whether the case needs to go to court.
In contrast to the consequences of having a DUI charge or conviction on your permanent record, the costs are minimal and short-term.
The Consequences of a DUI Charge
When considering the answers to “Can you expunge a DUI in Florida?” it is necessary to discuss the consequences of a DUI charge. If you do not attempt to get a DUI charge expunged or end up with a conviction on your record, there are multiple severe ramifications you may face — for the short term and the long term.
The consequences of a DUI charge can include:
- Fines and jail time
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Impounded vehicle
- DUI school
- Community service
- Ignition interlock
Additionally, difficulties with employment can stick with you for a long time. With a DUI on your record (a charge or a conviction), many types of jobs can be out of reach, leaving you with limited career opportunities and potential ongoing financial hardship.
Vehicle insurance rates rise, and availability diminishes when there is a charge or conviction of DUI on your record as well. This can load you down with hefty bills that could be avoided if your permanent record can get cleared.
It is crucial not to delay pursuing an expungement. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is highly beneficial to seek out an expungement to avoid the myriad consequences.
Take Action: The Importance of Experienced Guidance
Dealing with DUI expungement in Florida should be approached seriously and with experienced legal guidance. Legal assistance is crucial when your future is at stake.
Dean Tsourakis has extensive experience as a DUI attorney and has experience on both sides of the table to advocate aggressively for your rights.
Do not delay and take action today. Even if you have failed a breath test, it is not insurmountable. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney is key to obtaining the best possible outcome in a DUI case.
Contact Dean Tsourakis today for a free consultation.on Jan 8, 2024