Sealing a DUI Arrest and Charge in Tampa
Sealing your record after a DUI arrest maybe possible if your charge was reduced to a reckless driving and you received a withhold of conviction. You may qualify to expunge your record if your DUI case was reduced to a traffic citation or dismissed. The sealing and expungement process allows you to remove all evidence that the crime occurred from the Hillsborough clerk of court records. You will also be able to remove the booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) website.
Having a criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, obtain professional licenses, or may lead to a denial in an application to rent a house. Florida Statute 943.0585 covers the requirements necessary for the process of a court-order expunction of a criminal record.
Florida Statute 943.053 covers sealing a criminal record in Florida. Sealing a record removes the case information from public records searches, however, it can still be accessed in limited circumstances. With a court order by a judge, one could still find and open a sealed criminal case. Thus, if you qualify for expungement it is the better option.
An expungement is usually allowed in cases that ended with some form of deferred disposition or the case was dismissed. You cannot get your criminal case sealed or expunged in most circumstances if you were convicted. To get an expungement on a case that ended in a conviction, he or she must first receive a pardon granted to them by the judge. The sealing and expungement process generally take 9-12 months to fully complete.
The sealing or expungement process requires multiple steps to complete. The first step would be to order a certified copy of the disposition on your case. This can be obtained directly from the clerk of court in Hillsborough. The clerk charges a nominal fee for the disposition usually between $3-$10. While you are waiting to receive the disposition you can complete the application, the affidavit, and get your fingerprints taken on the authorized fingerprint card provided by FDLE.
The first step in the DUI sealing process in Tampa is to complete the Affidavit. A copy of which can be obtained directly from the clerk of court. You will need to sign the affidavit and get it notarized. Second, the Application of Certification for Eligibility. Section B of the affidavit only needs to be completed by the State Attorney only if you are applying for an expungement. Since you are sealing the reckless driving charge this portion does not need to be completed. Third, you can obtain your fingerprints from Hillsborough County Sheriff. They charge around $15.00 and usually no appointment is necessary. After you have obtained and completed the documents you would send the certificate, disposition and fingerprint form to FDLE for them to process sealing your Tampa DUI arrest. FDLE takes several months to issue the certificate of eligibility. Once you receive the certificate you would complete a petition to seal as well as the order to seal. You would send these documents along with the filing fee to the Clerk of Court. The judge would issue an order sealing your records and requiring the sheriff and the clerk to remove your case information.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI or reckless driving charge in Tampa Bay and wants a free evaluation to determine if the case qualifies for sealing contact us by calling 813-444-3912.