In Florida, a DUI conviction will always stay on your criminal record. A first-time DUI in the State of Florida is a first degree misdemeanor. Therefore, if you plead guilty, plead no contest, or are convicted after a trial, you will always have the misdemeanor DUI on your record.
On the other hand, if you were arrested for DUI but never charged or not convicted, or plead your case down to a reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication, you may be eligible to have your arrest and court records sealed or expunged.
A DUI conviction is also important for purposes of the statutory “look back period.” Some states, including Florida, have laws that dictate a look-back period for evaluating defendant drivers convicted of DUI. This period is a limited window into the past in which prior DUI convictions can “count” against the defendant if they are arrested and charged with a subsequent DUI.
Florida’s DUI Look-Back Periods:
- A second offense must occur within five years.
- A third offense must occur within 10 years.
- A fourth offense – court will consider lifetime driving record – can result in a lifetime license suspension.
As you can see, for second and third offenses, there is a limited period of time in which a conviction can be included in the defendant’s DUI history. When there are four convictions, however, the court can consider them all at once, no matter how old they might be.
It’s worth noting that Florida’s look-back period is fairly generous. Other states have instituted a 10-year look-back periods or consider the lifetime driving record of the accused.
How Does Florida’s DUI Look-Back Period Work?
To better illustrate how this look-back period works, let’s look at an example: let’s say that Kristi is a Miami resident driving in Jacksonville in June 2017 when she is arrested and charged with DUI. Assume she was convicted of DUI in September 2017. This is her third DUI conviction: she was also found guilty in April 2013 and January 2007.
Due to Florida’s look-back period, however, only one of those prior DUI convictions will be considered by the court—the 2013 one. Because it is more than five years old, the 2007 conviction is ignored and her current 2017 DUI conviction will be considered her second consecutive one. However, if she were to get a fourth DUI conviction in her lifetime, the court will consider it a fourth offense, with a possible lifetime license suspension
If you or a loved one had been charged with drunk driving, then their case should be evaluated by experienced, proven defense counsel. Attorney Patrick Korody is a former federal, state, and military prosecutor who has handled DUI cases for years. He has successfully defended clients charged with DI. Call 904.383.7261 now for a free consultation.