That’s a complex question because there are a lot of things that could happen, but you really have to be smart about it, and your lawyer really has to know what they’re doing to get you the best result. The short answer is that a DUI conviction, in the state of Florida, will remain on your record for 75 years. If you get convicted of a DUI at age 21 or older, that puts you at being at least 96 before you can seek removal, and by that point, it’s hardly worth it. But if your attorney really knows their stuff, they’ll know that there are things you can do to keep a DUI off your record, lessen the sentence and even possibly get it officially removed, or expunged. Depending on how your criminal case is resolved including a DUI, in Florida, it could potentially be eligible for sealing or expunction. Now, I want to be careful here, because you have to understand the difference. You might initially be charged with a DUI, your attorney might be able to resolve it with, for example, a reduced charge like a reckless driving. Reckless driving is still a misdemeanor, but maybe you can become eligible for what’s called a “withhold of adjudication”, which is not a permanent record of conviction.
If you’re fortunate enough to get that outcome, you might retain your privilege to seek sealing or expunction off your record, which are your two options for making the charge not visible to anyone who might check up on your record, like in a background check. If you’re successful there, then the state would absolve you of that charge, and theoretically, it would never appear on your record again; but the general rule of thumb is any criminal conviction is going to stay on your record. Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts, Palm Beach Clerk of Courts, Brown County Clerk of Courts and beyond most of the criminal dockets are available for public search. You can Google them.
Anyone who’s a professional and worried this could affect their career or anyone who has other collateral issues that they’re concerned about— like child custody, for instance, which can be severely impacted by a DUI conviction— really needs to consult with a lawyer. Sometimes it’s not even the conviction, it might be your mugshot that’s circulating. Even if you are found not guilty, the damage done to your reputation, if this isn’t handled correctly by the right person, can be disastrous. You really want the benefit of competent counsel who cannot just walk you through how to resolve the case looking at long-term consequences but also help you after you’ve resolved your case navigate those channels as well. If you’re facing a DUI charge and are concerned about the effects it will have on your future, both legally and personally, give us a call. We can walk you through not only the legal proceedings but your long-term plans as well.