Florida has very strict laws when it comes to your driving and your record. By administrative rule, all alcohol-related driving offenses stay on your driving record for 75 years. Yes, you read that right, 75 years. A DUI arrest is going to be around for as long as you will be driving. However, its impact changes over time.
Some people mistakenly believe a DUI comes off your record after three years. This mistake is based on the three-year requirement to carry elevated insurance (SR-22 or FR-44). Even after the insurance requirement is reduced, the DUI stays on your record.
Likewise, other offenses on your record cease to affect your insurance after five or seven years. But this does not mean they come off your record. It just means that after certain time periods, insurance companies do not count offenses against you.
Any alcohol-related driving offense is treated very seriously by the State. Those offenses stay on your record and are used in subsequent arrests to enhance the penalties. I have seen arrests 20-30 years ago come back to haunt clients and increase the penalties they face for a new arrest.
An arrest for a second DUI less than 5 years after the first DUI conviction requires 10 days in jail. An arrest for a second DUI 5 years and a day after a first DUI conviction does not mandate jail, but there are elevated penalties.
And it does not matter where your DUI occurred. DUIs in other states can still be used against you to enhance your Florida DUI arrest penalties. There are strategies for dealing with out-of-state convictions, but these vary by case.
There is no indication why the State picked 75 as the number of years a DUI stays on your record. It only makes sense to see this high number as an intention to deter repeat offenders and to punish people who get a second or greater DUI.
The enhanced penalties that come with a second or greater DUI arrest include higher fines, longer license suspensions, more classes, and ignition interlocks. And it doesn’t make a difference if the case was 6 years ago or 60 years ago. There are still going to be enhanced penalties.
Florida law permits the withholding of Adjudication for some offenses, like Reckless Driving, but not for DUI.
Usually, because DUI carries with it a mandatory adjudication by the court, a DUI cannot be sealed or expunged from your driving record. However, if you can get the case dismissed, it can be expunged. Or, if you can get the case reduced to Reckless Driving AND have Adjudication Withheld, it can be sealed. Sealing or expungement may remove a DUI arrest from your driving record.