Florida laws allow easy access to peoples’ criminal records. This can cause problems for those seeking good jobs and decent residences. Even a minor offense or a decades-old crime could be a disqualifying factor. (One example is with HIPAA laws that prohibit convicted felons from holding certain jobs pertaining to PII – Personally Identifiable Information.) Expunging one’s records is one possible solution to this problem. Sealing one’s records is another legal method for handling a criminal record.
Understanding DUI Records
Florida has a list of crimes that cannot be expunged or sealed. DUIs are on the do-not-dismiss list. People who have been found guilty or plead no-contest – in any state – to a DUI cannot get their records expunged or sealed.
Raising the bar higher is the fact that anyone who has been found guilty or plead no-contest to any crime cannot get their record expunged unless all of the associated records have been sealed for at least ten years.
However, people who were arrested and not convicted have a chance at expunging their arrest records. The applicant must file for a Certificate of Eligibility with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which – if granted – will be valid for about six months. If that succeeds, the applicant must contact the court where the charges were filed and request a hearing, filling out additional paperwork and forms in the process. Later, the applicant will have an appointed day in court where a judge will determine whether to grant or deny the application.
Sealing DUI records is a possibility for those whose DUI trials ended with a dismissal, a lesser charge, or an acquittal. The process is similar to what is described above. A sealed record will still technically “exist,” while there is no legal trace of an expunged record. However, sealed records cannot act as legal barriers to employment or housing.
Call Us to Find Out Your Options
Laws in Florida are constantly changing. And seeking the counsel of a lawyer is preferable to attempting to navigate the laws governing expunging and sealing records. Those who want to remove their DUI records are compelled to have annual consultations with lawyers with extensive DUI defense experience. Call our office today, and let us help you learn what options you have.