by | last updated on January 21, 2016
The strict DUI penalties in Florida make it mandatory that those convicted of DUI pay hefty fines, be on probation, serve prison time, put in hours of community work, have their licenses revoked, and/or take courses in DUI schools. But the consequences of the drunk driving conviction continue to haunt the drivers even after they have completed their sentence requirements. Unfortunately, if convicted, the DUI arrest record cannot be sealed or expunged.

What does it mean to seal or expunge a criminal record?

When a court in Florida orders a criminal record to be expunged or sealed, it means that the record is wiped or hidden from the individual’s record and will not show up when anyone—a potential employer, landlord, or a credit-lending agency—asks for background check reports. But there are differences between these two methods for clearing a criminal record.

Sealing prevents public access to a record, but certain government entities will still be able to access the full record. For example, if applying for a job in law enforcement, the law enforcement agency may access and view a sealed record.

If the record is expunged, the public still has no access to the record and the government entities that have access to a sealed record can only see that a record has been expunged. So if the law enforcement agency were to run a background check, it would see that a record was expunged, but could not view the record. A court order must be obtained to access the expunged record.

When can a DUI arrest record be expunged?

In Florida, a DUI arrest record cannot be sealed or expunged if the defendant has been adjudicated guilty. So unless the defendant is acquitted, the DUI case was dismissed, or the defendant was charged with lesser crime (like reckless driving) and then received Withhold of Adjudication, the record cannot be sealed or expunged. Importantly, adjudication for DUI cannot be withheld.

Legal Help for Drivers with DUI Convictions in Fort Lauderdale

The process of trying to clear a criminal record by sealing and expunging a DUI arrest in Florida is complex. That is why many drivers require the services of a defense lawyer who can build a convincing case for reducing the charges or challenging the charges in court.

The Law Offices of Robert David Malove offer legal help to drivers in Fort Lauderdale who have been arrested for DUI and are facing the penalties. Call us today for legal guidance: 888-744-8225.