Can You Expunge a DUI in Florida?

Everything You Need to Know about DUI Expungement and Sealing in Florida

From jail term to fines, to community service and high insurance premiums, a DUI conviction in Florida comes with overwhelmingly severe punishments. However, what many people don’t realize is that a DUI arrest, with or without conviction, has devastating long-term consequences, too. For example, you must always answer in the affirmative if asked whether you’ve been arrested on job or housing applications. Without further details, this information will put you in a disadvantaged position.

If you’ve already been arrested or convicted of DUI, you can’t set back the hands of time. However, is there something you can do from this moment to improve your situation? Can you have your DUI records sealed or expunged? If yes, how do you go about it?

Our Tampa expungement lawyer understands the dilemma you’re in. That’s why we’ve dedicated this article to providing clarity and direction regarding DUI expungement and sealing in Florida. Let’s begin with the differences between expungement and sealing.


What Are The Differences between Sealing and Expungement?

Understanding Sealing vs. Expungement

Sealing and expungement are the two major ways individuals get their criminal records out of the public’s view. However, while the goals are similar, these are two different concepts, and understanding where they contrast will help you make the right decisions.

When a record is sealed, the general public will no longer have unhindered access to it. That means details of your DUI arrest or conviction will not appear if they conduct a background check on you. The arrest or conviction remains part of your criminal records, but only specific authorized parties, such as government organizations and employment outfits, can still access them.

On the other hand, expungement destroys your criminal record completely, so even government entities will not have access to that information. The FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) may still maintain a limited record of your criminal history, which must remain confidential.

In summary, record expungement is much more desirable than sealing since it completely erases your criminal record. Let’s delve into whether you can seal or expunge your Florida DUI.

Can I Expunge or Seal My Florida DUI Record?

Find Out Your Options after a DUl Arrest or Conviction

Whether you can expunge or seal your DUI record in Florida depends on numerous factors. Generally, DUI convictions cannot be expunged and will remain on your criminal record for life. However, DUI arrests that did not end in a conviction can be expunged and DUI conviction records sealed under specific circumstances.

The  unique conditions that allow for sealing your DUI records may arise when:

  • You plead guilty or no contest
  • You’re found guilty after a trial
  • The judge dismisses the charge or you are found innocent.

In summary, your eligibility for DUI record sealing or expungement depends on your unique circumstances. As such, it’s important to consult your DUI expungement lawyer in Tampa to help you determine your status.


What’s The Process for Sealing a DUI Record in Florida?

How to Get Your Florida DUI Records Sealed

After you have determined your eligibility for a sealed or expunged record, you can take action by following these steps:

Obtain and Fill Out the Application

Expunging or sealing your DUI record in Florida begins by obtaining an Application for Certification of Eligibility from the FDLE website. This proves that you have met the requirements for expungement or sealing. Be sure to complete the application accurately and sign it under oath in a notary’s presence.

Note: An application for Certification of Eligibility will require you to complete a fingerprint card. You’ll also need to request a copy of the case disposition from the appropriate Clerk of Court.

Submit the Application to the State Attorney’s Office and FDLE 

After completing the application, submit it to the State Attorney’s Office in the county you were charged in, via mail or physically. The Office will fill out their part of the application and return it to the mailing address you provided. This will typically require you to wait a few weeks.

Upon receiving the completed application, send it to the FDLE as soon as possible. However, ensure that everything in the Application’s Checklist and Instructions is included before submission. The FDLE will send you a Certificate of Eligibility if they approve your application. Although this certificate doesn’t guarantee that your record will be sealed or expunged, it’s a sign that you’ve met the statutory requirements.

Note: You can skip sending the application to the State Attorney’s Office if you’re not looking to have your record expunged.

Complete a “Petition And Affidavit to Expunge or Seal” Form

The next step after receiving a Certificate of Eligibility is to complete a Petition and Affidavit to Expunge or Seal. You’ll find the information you need to complete this form on the Certificate of Eligibility. Individuals who were charged in Tampa can visit the Clerk of Court & Comptroller of Hillsborough County for details on obtaining and filing the petition.

File The Original Petition 

Make copies of the completed petition.  Next, file the original along with the Certificate of Eligibility with the Clerk of Court in the county where you were charged. If you wish to have your records expunged, you should also submit copies to the State Attorney’s Office.

Wait for a Response 

The FDLE will send their copy of your petition and Certificate of Eligibility to the State Attorney’s Office. They’ll also file a response to your application. If the FDLE rejects your application, you may be notified of a court hearing on the matter. The court will, however, issue a sealing or expungement order if the FDLE accepts your application.

Speak to Our Knowledgeable DUI Lawyer in Florida Now

We Want to Help You Navigate This Process Seamlessly

If the process of sealing or expunging your Florida DUI record sounds complicated, it’s because it is. Any mistake in your application can ultimately frustrate the entire process. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with the complexities when you’ve got our Tampa DUI expungement lawyers on your side. We’ll guide you through all the procedures, ensuring that you get the best results in the shortest time possible.

Are you ready to begin your DUI expungement/sealing process? Our attorneys at Taracks & Associates can help to determine your eligibility and get you started. Dial 813-281-2897 to schedule a free consultation with us now.


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