Sealing or Expunging DUI Records in Florida
Every state has some statute on sealing or expunging records of arrests or convictions. Typically, there is a waiting period before the records can be expunged or concealed.
In Florida, those convicted of DUI or any related offense are barred from ever sealing or expunging their record. That means that a conviction for simple misdemeanor DUI will remain on your record for the remainder of your days. This can have a huge impact on your ability to secure the best apartments or housing available or find the job you’ve always dreamed about.
DUI defense begins with the recognition that a guilty plea or verdict will stay on your record forever.
DUI Convictions Cannot be Sealed, But Here’s What You Can Do
Florida allows what’s called a “wet reckless” plea. A wet reckless plea is a conviction for reckless driving stemming from a DUI. Typically, the defendant will plead the charge down from a full DUI to a wet reckless.
But prosecutors don’t like offering wet reckless as a plea. In some cases, the law prevents them from offering the plea at all. However, if the prosecution’s case isn’t perfect, and they’re not sure the charge would stick in front of a jury, they have the option of allowing the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge, reckless driving.
Reckless driving not only has lower fines and less jail time, but it’s not as likely to cause your insurance rates to skyrocket beyond an affordable margin. Lastly, a wet reckless can be expunged from your record, while a conviction for DUI cannot.
Judges are not allowed to accept a plea for wet reckless if the driver’s BAC was .15 or higher. Also, if someone killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
Wet Reckless versus DUI Penalties
DUI is considered a first-degree misdemeanor while reckless driving is a second-degree misdemeanor. That means that the penalties for a DUI are roughly double those of reckless driving.
Those who are offered a wet reckless are generally required to take a DUI class at their own expense. While the offense won’t count as a DUI on their record, for the purposes of determining a second or third offense, a wet reckless does count.
When Will the Prosecution Offer a Wet Reckless?
Typically, in cases where the driver’s BAC was at or around .08, the tests were not properly administered or the equipment was not properly calibrated, or there is some other conflict in the evidence that could hurt the state’s case.
In these cases, it may or may not be worth it to take the plea. A skilled attorney could help analyze the state’s case, the quality of their evidence, and the quality of the tests that will be presented in court, and determine whether or not taking a wet reckless plea is preferable to forcing the case through the system.
Call an Orlando DUI Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with DUI, call the Florida DUI defense attorneys at FL DUI Group today. We can offer skilled counsel throughout the process and negotiate a deal that you can live with. Call today to learn more.