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Exploring the process for DUI expungement in Florida

After going through the process of a trial for driving under the influence, some mark will turn up on an individual's criminal record regardless of the verdict. Even though it may seem counterintuitive, an adult who is acquitted of drunk driving will still have the arrest and charges show up on their permanent record. The only thing that obviously won't appear is a conviction.

Simply having a DUI arrest on a record can create difficulties. For example, if an employer conducts a full background check, simply being arrested could raise a red flag.

Keeping this in mind, Florida residents may be wondering if there is any way to clear their records.

Thankfully, Florida law allows for criminal records to be sealed or expunged if a court doesn't reach a judgment or finds an individual not guilty. Those who are convicted generally do not have this option. On the other hand, this process can be lengthy and frustrating.

For those who meet the qualifications for sealing or expungement, the first step is to receive Certification of Eligibility, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This can be obtained with an application. If certification is granted, a court can order criminal records to be sealed or expunged, which is something that state law enforcement must comply with.

An important point to note is that expungement cannot take place until the record has been sealed for at least 10 years. The state indicates that having records sealed will allow a small audience to view the full record, whereas expungement means that the DUI arrest will be removed entirely.

Those who have been through wringer after being charged for DUI do not have to face the expungement process alone. This is something for which an attorney can provide counsel.

Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed June 26, 2014

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