If you get arrested for driving under the influence in a state like Pennsylvania, this DUI might not follow you around for the rest of your life. In some cases, this impaired driving charge can be removed from your criminal record after you go through an Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition (ADR) program.
But not every state is this forgiving when it comes to punishing a drunk driver. There are other states that will leave a DUI on a person’s record for well over a decade.
Florida is one of these states. So, how long does a DUI stay on your criminal record in The Sunshine State?
If you were recently arrested on a DUI charge, you should know the answer to this question. You should also know how to handle a DUI case to minimize the impact it is able to have on your life.
Continue reading to find out how long you can expect a DUI to linger on your record.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in Florida?
If you get arrested for DUI in Florida, this arrest will not automatically be added to your criminal record right away. You will have an opportunity to try to make a case for yourself in court to avoid a DUI conviction.
But if you are convicted of DUI in Florida, there is a very simple answer to the question, “How long does a DUI stay on your criminal record?” That answer is “Forever.”
When a DUI conviction is added to your criminal record in Florida, there is not any chance it is going to be removed. This DUI conviction will take a toll on you for the remainder of your life.
Why Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record for So Long?
There is a very simple reason why Florida and so many other states come down so hard on those convicted of DUI. They want to try to limit the number of people who choose to drink and drive.
The good news is that tough drunk driving laws have worked for the most part throughout the U.S. There are fewer people being arrested for DUI today than in past years.
But that does not mean impaired driving is not still a major problem. More than 13,000 Americans are killed in drunk driving accidents each year. This suggests there is still a lot of work to be done to bring the number of these incidents that occur every year down even more.
One way states like Florida are doing it is by making it impossible for those arrested for impaired driving and convicted of DUI to have their convictions removed from their criminal records. The hope is that the mere thought of this happening will prevent people from getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking.
Is There a Way to Expunge a DUI From Your Criminal Record?
As we alluded to earlier, there are some states that will enable you to have a DUI conviction removed, or expunged, from your criminal record after you complete certain requirements. There are also states that will allow you to have a DUI conviction sealed so that others cannot see it even if you are not able to have it expunged.
But in Florida, it will not be possible for you to do either of these things. If you get arrested for DUI and eventually get convicted of this crime, you will find that your DUI conviction will stick with you for life. You will not be able to get rid of it regardless of how much time might pass.
How Can Having a DUI on Your Criminal Record Affect You?
If you ever have a DUI conviction added to your criminal record, it could potentially have a major impact on your life. It is going to do more than just make you feel a sense of shame and regret.
Here are several other ways in which having this DUI conviction on your criminal record might affect you both now and well into the future.
Makes It Challenging to Get a Job
Any time you go to get a job after getting convicted of a DUI, you will have to worry about a potential employer running a background check on you. If they do this, they are going to be able to see that you have a DUI conviction on your record. It might make them less likely to hire you for a position, even if you are fully qualified for it otherwise.
This will be especially true if you ever attempt to get a job where you could possibly be in charge of keeping others safe. You will be seen as a huge liability rather than an asset to a potential employer. It could result in them not wanting to hire you.
Commercial truck drivers, in particular, need to be very careful about having DUI charges appear on their criminal records. You might need to make a career change if you work in the trucking industry and get a DUI since you will find that it will be almost impossible to convince anyone to hire you.
Increases Auto Insurance Rates
Florida drivers are already subjected to some of the highest auto insurance rates around. And those rates have actually gone up over the last couple of years and forced people to spend a small fortune to insure their vehicles.
If you ever get convicted of DUI, you will likely see your already-high auto insurance rates in Florida climb even higher. Auto insurance companies are going to see you as a much bigger risk and will make you pay dearly for it.
In some instances, those arrested for DUIs have to stop driving altogether simply because of how much auto insurance will cost them. It is a difficult decision to make, but many of them do not have a choice due to the increasing auto insurance costs they face.
Restricts Travel to Other Countries
You might not think having a DUI conviction on your criminal record would have anything to do with your ability to travel throughout the world. But there are quite a few countries that prevent those with DUI convictions on their records from entering them.
Mexico is the best example of this. If you get charged with DUI and convicted, you will have to wait at least 10 years before you are able to travel to Mexico. Even then, you might have a tough time getting into the country.
Canada is another country that does not take DUI convictions lightly. You will struggle to work your way into Canada when you have a DUI conviction that is less than 5 years old. And even after the 5-year mark has passed, you might still have to pay a fine to be admitted to Canada with a DUI conviction on your criminal record.
How Can You Prevent Having a DUI on Your Criminal Record?
Now that you know the answer to the question, “How long does a DUI stay on your criminal record?”, and understand how harmful a DUI conviction can be, you should be able to see why you should do everything in your power to avoid one.
Fortunately, you do not have to take a DUI charge on the chin. You are welcome to fight this charge if you would like so that you can try to stop it from getting added to your criminal record in the first place.
Here are a couple of things you can do to try to steer clear of having a DUI conviction added to your criminal record.
Work to Get a DUI Charge Dropped
Just because you have been charged with DUI does not always mean this charge is going to stick. There is a chance you might be able to have a DUI charge dropped by working closely with a lawyer who specializes in handling DUI cases.
This lawyer can take a closer look at your case and see if they might be able to work on getting your DUI charge dismissed. If, for instance, they find that the police made a crucial mistake when placing you under arrest for DUI, it could be enough to convince the prosecution in your case to drop it.
A good DUI lawyer might also be able to argue that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convict you of DUI in court. It is another way that they can try to get your DUI case dismissed.
These types of tactics might not always work. But when you consider the alternative, it could not hurt to have a DUI lawyer review your case and see which options you might have.
Take Your DUI Case to Court and Get Found Not Guilty
If a DUI lawyer is not able to get a prosecutor to drop their DUI case against you, you are always welcome to take your case to court and fight it. It is another way in which a DUI lawyer can help you.
A DUI lawyer will be able to put together a compelling case for you in an attempt to try to convince a judge or jury that you do not deserve to be convicted of a DUI. If they are successful and you are found not guilty, you will be able to steer clear of having a DUI conviction added to your criminal record.
Should You Fight a DUI Charge?
If you accept your fate and plead guilty to a DUI charge without putting up a fight, you will be resigning yourself to the fact that a DUI conviction will appear on your criminal record. As we just explained to you, this could impact everything from your ability to get a job to your ability to travel the world.
With this in mind, fighting a DUI charge should really be the only option you consider. You should, at the very least, speak with a lawyer who has experience handling DUI cases to see what they think.
Even if the chances of you being found not guilty on a DUI charge are slim, it would still be well worth trying to fight it. Your criminal defense lawyer might be able to figure out a way to stop a DUI conviction from ending up on your criminal record.
Who Should You Trust to Help With Your DUI Case?
If you decide to hire a lawyer to help with your DUI case, you should not hire just any lawyer. There are well over 1 million lawyers in the U.S. today, including many who can lend a hand with DUI cases.
Your ultimate goal should be to locate one of the best DUI lawyers in your area to represent you. They should be well-versed in the DUI laws in Florida, and they should have a wealth of experience when it comes to working with those who have been arrested and charged with DUI.
Your DUI lawyer should also have almost nothing but positive reviews from clients they have worked with in the past. You will know that you are going to be in excellent hands when you have a DUI lawyer like this in your corner. They should be able to give you the best possible chance to beat a DUI charge and avoid having a DUI conviction appear on your criminal record.
Contact Us If You Were Arrested on a DUI Charge
At Miksis Law, PLLC, we know how stressful and unnerving it can be to get arrested and charged with DUI. You will have all kinds of questions like, “How long does a DUI stay on your criminal record?”, swirling around in your head.
Before you do anything else, we hope you will consider giving us a call. We would be more than happy to look at your case and guide you through the process of fighting a DUI charge. It may help you avoid having to live with a DUI conviction on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.