Can My DUI Be Expunged in Florida?

can my DUI be expungedGetting a DUI can be a traumatic and regretful experience. When law enforcement pulls you over and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures at a level of .08 or higher, then you are illegally operating your vehicle and will face harsh consequences. 

However, if you were pulled over and arrested for a DUI, but never charged with it or anything else, you may be wondering if you can get it expunged from your record. Since expungement erases your record, it won’t be a simple process, and determining whether you’re eligible may be confusing. Therefore, having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can be enormously beneficial to your case and your future. To discuss the facts of your particular case, speak to The Umansky Law Firm to identify your best option moving forward. 

DUI Conviction Penalties in Florida 

DUI penalties in Florida are some of the toughest around the United States. Not only will a DUI conviction stay on your record for 75 years, but the penalties can derail your career and cost you your freedom. Every DUI case is unique, and penalties and sentencing will be based on your specific circumstances. Here are general guidelines for a first offense, second offense, third offense, fourth offense, and further DUI convictions. 

First Offense DUI

A common misconception is that a first offense DUI conviction doesn’t have jail time penalties. Jail sentencing depends entirely on your BAC and the situation that occurred. For example, if your BAC was below .15 or you refused to take a breathalyzer test and you were not in a car crash, then you face up to six months in jail. However, if you were in a car crash, then you face up to twelve months. If your BAC was .15 or greater or if a minor was in the car, then you face up to nine months.  

Another mistake people make is assuming that first offense DUI convictions aren’t serious. A first offense DUI conviction can result in the following:  

  • Affected driving privileges: Minimum six-month suspension, maximum one-year suspension of driver’s license 
  • Financial penalties: Fines anywhere between $500 to $1,000. If BAC is .15 or higher or a minor was involved, fees increase to $1,000 to $2,000 
  • Other consequences: Ignition interlock system up to six months, community service requirements, vehicle immobilization for 10 days, a DUI educational program 

Second Offense DUI 

A second offense DUI is a repeat offense, meaning you can expect harsher penalties. If your second offense occurs within five years of your first conviction, a mandatory ten-day jail sentencing is required until found guilty. If your BAC was under .15 and no crash occurred, then you face nine months in jail. If your BAC is .15 or higher or a minor was in the car, then you face a twelve-month sentence. Other penalties include: 

  • Affected driving privileges: Minimum five-year driver’s license suspension if the arrest is within five years of the first offense. If after five years, suspension of driver license will be a minimum of six months 
  • Financial penalties: Fines anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000. If BAC is .15 or higher or a minor was involved, fees increase to $2,000 to $4,000 
  • Other consequences: Ignition interlock system for one to two years, vehicle immobilization for 30 days, a DUI educational program 

Third Offense DUI 

If your third offense occurs within 10 years of your second conviction, then you can be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable with a fine up to $5,000 and the possibility of five years in prison. A mandatory 30-day minimum jail time is required upon your conviction. If your third offense occurs after 10 years, then you will face twelve months of jail time. Other penalties include: 

  • Affected driving privileges: Minimum ten-year driver’s license suspension
  • Financial penalties: Fines anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000. If BAC is .15 or higher or a minor was involved, fees increase to $4,000 to $5,000 
  • Other consequences: Ignition interlock system for a minimum of two years, vehicle immobilization for 90 days, a DUI educational program 

Fourth Offense (or more) DUI 

Regardless of how many years passed since your other DUI convictions occurred, a fourth offense or higher is a felony and you will be sentenced up to five years in prison. Other penalties include: 

  • Affected driving privileges: Permanent revocation of driver’s license 
  • Financial penalties: Fines no less than $2,000
  • Other consequences: Ignition interlock system for a minimum of two years, vehicle immobilization for 90 days, a DUI educational program  

Reasons the Police May Pull You Over for DUI

There are several reasons why a police officer may pull you over for suspected intoxication, and most of them depend on how you control your car. However, there are a few other possibilities that many people don’t consider. Some reasons why officers pull cars over and make DUI arrests include: 

  • Traffic violations, including inconsistent speed, wide turns, weaving, reckless and sloppy driving, or running a stop sign  
  • Car accidents 
  • In-person observations such as seeing you stumbling out of a bar 
  • Sobriety checkpoints

 

In any of these situations, an officer will try to talk to you and assess your ability to make eye contact and carry a conversation. The officer will also look out for signs of slurred speech, alcohol on your breath, or bloodshot eyes. You must remain respectful to prevent any problems from occurring. However, you should also be aware of your rights. Never admit to anything and don’t disclose any information that you don’t want to be used against you until you consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. 

Am I Eligible to Get My DUI Expunged in Florida? 

A DUI on your record can be a significant hardship in your life. In addition to the penalties outlined above, you may face challenges obtaining employment, housing, transportation, or travel. Bearing in mind these long-term consequences, it makes sense that you would explore the possibility of DUI expungement. 

Unfortunately, a DUI conviction cannot be expunged under Florida Law, regardless of whether you plead guilty, plead no contest, or were convicted at trial. While you are unable to erase your DUI record, you may be able to remove your record if you plead to a lesser charge or if your charge is decreased to a lesser count. Still, there are specific circumstances that must be met, and you’ll need the guidance of an attorney. On the other hand, if you were arrested and charged with a DUI but you were acquitted, your case was dismissed, or the charges were dropped, then you may have grounds to go through the expungement process.   

Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Through Expungement 

If a DUI arrest has presented notable struggles and complications in your life, you should find out if you’re qualified for record expungement. Although the expungement process is not easy, you may be able to get your life in order by pursuing it. The skilled Orlando criminal defense and DUI expungement attorneys at The Umansky Law firm can help you understand your criminal record and whether you’re able to remove it. No matter how extensive your record is, you can expect to receive personalized attention with transparent and honest feedback. 

At The Umansky Law Firm, our team is committed to providing high-quality legal services with the aggressive representation you deserve to resolve your criminal history. With over 100 years of combined experience, our attorneys have tackled cases of the most complex nature, obtaining tremendous results and satisfying our clients. You can rest assured that our firm will employ all our resources and expertise to successfully remove your record so you can focus on moving forward. For a free consultation, call (407) 228-3838 or complete our contact form.