Florida law allows you to seal your record one time in your life. This can only apply to one case where you are not convicted and you must have no prior convictions for any misdemeanors or felonies.
Unfortunately, Florida Law indicates that if you are arrested for DUI and convicted, you cannot seal your record as the Judge is not allowed, pursuant to Florida Law, to suspend entry of sentence or to enter a withhold of adjudication.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other groups petitioned the Florida legislature not to allow a DUI conviction to be sealed. The rationale behind it is that if you were able to seal it or erase it from your record, it would be like the incident never happened and if you got another DUI it would be your first DUI instead of your second. Since DUI can result in serious bodily injury or death to people in the community, the legislature decided that one should not be able to seal their record on a DUI charge.
The conviction of a DUI can affect many job opportunities and will remain on your record as a criminal traffic conviction for the rest of your life. It does not erase after a certain number of years.
The attorney defending you defends the seriousness of this consequence and all efforts are made to win your case or to have the charges reduced to the lesser charge of reckless driving, which can be sealed.
This reckless driving charge must be entered as a withhold of adjudication and not as a conviction in order for you to be able to seal it at a later time. Remember any conviction of any charge cannot be sealed.
One needs to consider when sealing their record if they want to use their once in a lifetime ability to seal on the reckless driving charge or to save the sealing for a future time in case the person is arrested again on a more serious charge.
The expungement of your record can take place ten years after the case was sealed or if the case was dismissed by the Judge, the charges dropped by the State Attorney’s Office, or you were found not guilty in trial you can immediately expunge.
The difference between sealing and expunging your record is that a sealed record is taken off the computer and the file is stored in archives. In the case of an expunged record, the case is actually destroyed.