Will Your DUI Charge Become Public Knowledge?

Getting charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can have far-reaching consequences on an individual’s life. Beyond the legal penalties, many individuals fear the public exposure that comes with such charges. 


At Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa, we take DUI charges very seriously, not just because a conviction carries harsh penalties imposed by law, but because we know the long-lasting negative consequences to a person’s life if their DUI conviction becomes public knowledge. We focus on defeating the DUI charge by any legal means available.  


In Florida, all police arrests leading to charges become public records accessible by anyone. But the “charge” is much less damaging than a DUI conviction. The question of whether a DUI charge becomes a permanent DUI conviction open to public viewing depends primarily on whether your Florida DUI defense lawyer can either get the charge dismissed, convince the prosecutor to amend the charge to a lesser offense (like reckless driving), or beat the case at trial.  



Will Your DUI Arrest Become Public Knowledge?


Even if the record of your arrest is technically a public record, whether it becomes “public knowledge’ as something immediately known by the general public depends on factors including your social standing, whether you hold an important public or private position, and whether the circumstances of the DUI case are newsworthy or remarkable enough to draw media coverage. If serious injuries or fatalities were suffered, more media scrutiny will be devoted to the events. 


Florida law mandates that all police records of arrest be made publicly available. Today, that means anyone with a computer can access arrest information, the police narrative describing the probable cause for the arrest, and even mugshots. With social media so pervasive, it is likely that people you know will learn of your DUI arrest through social media even if no professional media covers the story. 


Impact on Employment and Professional Reputation


For individuals in certain professions, a DUI charge becoming public knowledge could have severe consequences on their careers. Jobs that require a clean driving record, such as commercial drivers or delivery personnel, may be jeopardized. Doctors, nurses, and lawyers are all subject to oversight by a state board of licensing that will be deeply concerned about an individual’s ability to function in their job in a way that does not threaten the public.  


Prevent Your Florida DUI Charge from Becoming a DUI Conviction 


The most crucial step in protecting your privacy is to retain an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after the arrest. Skilled DUI defense lawyers like those at The Stechschulte Nell Law Firm understand all the laws and regulations in Florida and will guide you through the legal process.  


Stechschulte Nell’s first step will be to analyze the allegations and supporting witness statements to search for legal errors, inconsistencies in the evidence, contradictory reports, and exculpatory evidence that tends to indicate your innocence or mitigate the severity of the facts alleged by the police. 


DUI Charges Often Require Technical Defenses 


DUI charges require the prosecution to prove a great many more technical facts than most people realize. There is a long list of preliminary proof the state must present before the question of the driver’s actual intoxication gets placed into evidence.

  • Was there a reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law before the police stopped you? 
  • Can the officer testify truthfully to any observations they made during the in-person interaction with you that further fed their suspicion you were operating a vehicle under the influence? 
  • Does the body cam footage support the allegations? 
  • Did you agree to take field sobriety tests? (You don’t have to, you know.) 
  • Did the officer administer the field sobriety test properly? They are extremely specific in their required protocol. An incorrect test administration results in an unreliable test result. 
  • Did the officer notify you of all legal rights and options available to you? 
  • Was any breathalyzer test performed according to strict regulations? 


Beyond all of these basic technical requirements, prosecutors are also interested in learning about any special personal circumstances you may be experiencing in your life. The best DUI defense lawyers use everything they learn to try to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charges or dismiss the case. 


Depending on the circumstances of your case, Stechschulte Nell is often able to negotiate a very favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor. This could involve pleading guilty to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving, which does not carry the same stigma as a DUI charge and can be expunged if adjudication is withheld. 


And in many other cases, taking the case to trial can be in their best interest. This would involve a case in which your DUI defense lawyer is confident the prosecution will fail on technical grounds and the state refuses to recognize the weakness of its case.  


Get Tampa’s DUI Defense Lawyers on Your Side 


Remember that each DUI case is unique, and the strategies to protect your privacy may vary based on the specific circumstances in your case. It is essential to consult with the experienced and skilled DUI defense attorneys at Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law, who will provide tailored advice and guidance to safeguard your rights and privacy throughout the legal process. 


Contact us for a FREE case review today. 

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