How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record?

A DUI conviction in Florida stays on your record permanently. That’s bad news if you happened to be with friends celebrating a milestone in your life and you had a little more to drink than you intended. But the law is not sympathetic. Once you suffer a DUI conviction, Florida law provides that everyone who looks up your name in the public record will see that you were guilty of drunk or drugged driving. 


How do you avoid getting a permanent record for DUI in Florida?  


Avoiding a conviction is the answer. You cannot wait to begin fighting a DUI charge. Anyone charged with DUI in Florida has only days to request a DMV administrative hearing to contest their license being revoked. Only with the assistance of an experienced DUI defense lawyer can a driver take advantage of the possible benefits afforded by the DMV hearing. 


The DMV administrative hearing at which the driver’s license suspension is being considered allows an experienced DUI defense lawyer to clearly assess the strength of the state’s case. Although this civil proceeding has no effect on the outcome of the criminal case, your defense attorney can request the officer to be present and can cross-examine them about the minute details that may turn the case in the driver’s favor.  


Missing this opportunity can be costly as early access to this information from the officer is hard to come by elsewhere before the trial of a misdemeanor DUI. 



Why You Must Hire an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer Immediately 


Things begin to happen very quickly when police pull you over for suspicion of driving under the influence. Before you know it, the officer is asking you to step out of the car. Since few people realize they do not need to perform field sobriety tests, you probably tried to “pass” those roadside tests. 


Minutes later, you find yourself handcuffed and locked in the rear seat of a police cruiser on the way to the station, where you will be offered a breathalyzer. The officer told you that refusing a breathalyzer test would result in your license being suspended. You blew into the machine, and the results read 0.09. 


Hours later, on your way home from the longest night of your life, it hits you that you are facing a criminal charge that might follow you for decades. 


The first thing someone facing a DUI charge should do is contact the best DUI defense attorney they can reach in their area. If you are in the Tampa – St. Petersburg area, you would do well to call Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law. Board-certified criminal defense lawyers who concentrate much of their practice on defending people charged with DUI, Attorneys Ben Stechschulte and Amy Nell will take immediate action to preserve your rights and start building the best possible defense to the charge. 


Avoid a Florida DUI Conviction  


Defending a DUI charge involves more skill than just arguing with the prosecution. The work requires the application of years of experience to insightfully analyze every single event that occurred during the police stop and everything that followed. 


The goal of every DUI defense is to win an outright dismissal  

of the charges long before the case goes to trial.  


That means examining what the police reported, what the driver and any witnesses observed, checking the certificates of the breathalyzer operator and machine, as well as its maintenance records. It also requires that the defense lawyer’s knowledge of the law be up to date on any recent developments in either the law or the science relating to DUI prosecutions. 


Your DUI defense lawyer should be an expert at cross-examining witnesses and have a reputation for winning DUI cases. Winning defense lawyers get prosecutors thinking about whether they will be able to hold the case together against the expertise of an experienced DUI defense attorney.  


An important key in determining the outcome of many DUI prosecutions is the client themselves. If the driver is charged with their first DUI offense, the right DUI defense lawyer can advocate for the client to be granted an alternative to the harsh sentences and lifelong consequences a DUI conviction can bring. 


Alternatives to DUI Conviction in Florida 


There is more than one way to avoid a DUI conviction in Florida. The best defense lawyer will keep in view all the ways to achieve favorable results for the client. A skilled defense lawyer will be equally adept in each approach to ensure their client is cleared of DUI allegations. 


Strategies and tactics to avoid a DUI conviction in Florida include: 


Preparing to defend the charge at trial:


  • Police had no reasonable articulable suspicion to stop the driver, 
  • No facts indicating the driver was under the influence during personal interaction with police, 
  • Field Sobriety Tests administered or scored incorrectly, 
  • No probable cause to arrest, 
  • Failure to observe the driver for the time required prior to a breathalyzer test 
  • Incorrect breathalyzer procedure 
  • Breathalyzer machine malfunction or not certified, or needs maintenance 
  • Documents prepared inaccurately 
  • Move to suppress evidence because of the above failures 


Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) Program 


  • Encourages first-time DUI defendants to accept alternatives to prosecution 
  • Driver voluntarily complies with DUI conditions, (uses ignition interlock device, etc.) 
  • Following successful completion, the prosecutor recommends a reduction of the DUI charge to reckless driving, with the judge withholding adjudication 
  • Does not count as a conviction 
  • Charge can be expunged from the record (unlike a DUI) 


The RIDR DUI Diversion Program is not available to all drivers charged with DUI. The following circumstances disqualify the defendant from participating in the RIDR program: 


  • Driver’s DUI involved an accident injuring another person or damaging their property 
  • Driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) reading was over .20 
  • A minor was in the vehicle during the DUI 
  • Driver already participated in a pretrial intervention or diversion program 


Learn More > Building an Effective DUI Defense  


Tampa DUI Defense  


Always contact the most qualified DUI defense lawyer near you immediately when you are released from police custody after your DUI arrest. Call Tampa’s DUI defense law firm Stechschulte Nell today for a case review at 813-280-1244.

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