Once arrested for DUI, life gets much more difficult with a criminal record hanging over your head. It’s harder to get a job, good housing, and more. A fresh start is possible if you qualify to have a past Florida criminal record expunged or sealed. This is not an automatic nor quick process, but it is a worthwhile one.
What Qualifies for DUI Sealing And Expungement of Criminal Records?
In Florida, there are certain circumstances where you can have your criminal arrest record sealed or expunged.
If your case resulted in a withhold of adjudication you may be eligible to have it sealed.
If your case has been dismissed, dropped, or no-billed (no information or not filed on) it is eligible to be expunged.
Other factors may allow you to be eligible for sealing and expungement of your record.
What Is the Difference Between a Sealed Record and An Expunged Record?
Sealing and expungement are NOT the same. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE):
When a criminal history record is sealed, the public will not have access to it. Certain governmental or related entities, primarily those listed in Section 943.059(4)(a), Florida Statutes, have access to the sealed record information in its entirety.
When a record has been expunged, most of the entities that would have access to a sealed record will be informed that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order. The response to a record search query from such an entity would be: Criminal History Record Expunged Pursuant to Florida Statutes 943. In most cases your record must be sealed for ten (10) years before it can be expunged, unless the indictment or information was never filed or was actually dismissed.
Back on Track Program
The Back on Track program in Miami-Dade County is a DUI diversion program for those defendants who have been arrested for driving under the influence. The State Attorney’s Office will determine who is eligible for the program. Defendants who are eligible for the program will be given the opportunity to complete various conditions in order for their DUI charge to be reduced to a lesser charge, if all conditions are successfully completed. Typically the DUI is reduced to a Reckless Driving Charge with a Withhold of Adjudication. If that is the case, your record can be sealed of expunged.
When Can’t You Seal or Expunge a Florida Record?
You cannot seal or expunge your Florida record if you have ever been convicted of a crime, regardless of how long ago the conviction occurred or where. Any out-of-state convictions makes you ineligible for sealing or expunging your criminal record.
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