2024 How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Florida?

Law Offices of Nellie L. King

Florida takes DUI charges seriously. Being convicted of driving while under the influence carries severe criminal penalties that can have long-lasting effects on your life. Even a first-time DUI conviction carries harsh penalties and will result in a criminal record. If you have a DUI conviction, you may be wondering how long a DUI stays on your criminal record.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on My Record in Florida?

In many states, a DUI stays on a person’s record for ten years. In Florida, a DUI stays on your record for 75 years. Florida tends to have stricter penalties when compared to the penalties of other states. Once a person is officially convicted of a DUI, it is essentially impossible to get the conviction removed. There are, however, ways to avoid getting a DUI conviction by pleading to a lesser charge or participating in programs. A DUI attorney in West Palm Beach, FL, can help you understand your options.

Can My DUI Be Removed or Expunged?

If convicted of a DUI in Florida, it cannot be removed or expunged from your record. Once you are found guilty, it becomes a part of your permanent record. The only way to keep a DUI off your record is to never be convicted in the first place.

After you are charged, there are two ways to avoid conviction. First, the charges could be reduced or dropped. The charges could be reduced or dropped for a number of reasons, such as an unlawful traffic stop, breathalyzer mistakes, lack of evidence, or a violation of rights. The second way is to be found not guilty in court.

Pre-Trial Diversion Programs

If you have been arrested for a DUI but have not yet gone to court, a pre-trial diversion program is an option that can get your charges dismissed. A DUI diversion program allows someone accused of a DUI to meet certain requirements, such as completing DUI classes, submitting to alcohol testing, and/or completing a predetermined amount of community service in exchange for having the DUI charges dropped.

This option is typically reserved for first-time DUI offenders without aggravating factors. The types of programs vary by state and county. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand what program you may be eligible for, as well as the requirements for participation. Some typical requirements for participation in a DUI diversion program include:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) must have been under a certain amount at the time of the arrest, typically 0.15%.
  • There were no minors in the car at the time of the arrest.
  • You have not committed a similar offense.
  • You are not currently on probation.
  • You are not already enrolled in a diversion program in Florida.

There are other things that may be considered to determine eligibility, such as a person’s criminal or driving history. If you have been charged or convicted of reckless driving, driving with an invalid driver’s license at the time of the DUI arrest, having a prior felony, or leaving the scene of an accident, you may no longer qualify to participate in a DUI diversion program. Once the program is completed, the charges are dropped, and you will not have a DUI conviction on your record.

Plea to a Lesser Charge

Another option for avoiding a DUI conviction is pleading to a lesser charge. This comes with eligibility requirements. For instance, if the DUI resulted in the manslaughter of another person or if you had a BAC of 0.15% or more, you will typically be ineligible to plead to a lesser charge.

One of the most common pleas is called a “wet reckless.” In a wet reckless, the defendant pleads guilty to reckless driving involving alcohol instead of a DUI. Penalties are typically less severe for a wet reckless than for a DUI. A wet reckless is reserved for first-offense DUIs.

FAQs

Q: Can You Get a DUI Removed From Your Record in Florida?

A: A DUI cannot be removed from your record after you are convicted. There are some routes, however, that can halt a conviction and stop it from being on your record. You can participate in a DUI diversion program or plea to a lesser charge. You can also take your chances in court in hopes that either the case will be dismissed or you will be found not guilty.

Q: How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record in Florida?

A: A DUI stays on your record for 75 years in Florida. Most other states only require a DUI to be on a person’s criminal record for ten years. Once convicted in Florida, the DUI stays on your permanent record, and it cannot be expunged or removed. The penalties for driving with a DUI will last many years.

Q: How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Florida?

A: It is possible a DUI arrest and/or conviction could cause you to lose your job. Potential employers and renters can deny your application if you have a DUI on your record, as they may see you as a liability. A conviction can also cause your car insurance rates to increase. In some cases, you will not be allowed to visit other countries as they restrict access to those with a DUI conviction.

Q: Is a DUI a Felony in Florida?

A: Most DUIs are considered misdemeanors in Florida. However, there are some instances where it will be considered a felony. These include:

  • Two prior DUI convictions, with one in the last ten years
  • Three prior DUI convictions at any time in the past
  • The DUI caused the death of someone else
  • The DUI caused bodily harm to someone else

Contact a DUI Attorney Today

A DUI conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life. DUIs come with serious penalties, but they also can affect your quality of life. There are potential routes that can help you avoid a DUI conviction before going to court. These options usually come with their own requirements that can be difficult to understand.

Eligibility for these requirements varies with each county. An attorney can help you understand what your options are and if you are eligible. We know how difficult these times can be. Contact the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. today if you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge.

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