A D.U.I. conviction is a criminal traffic misdemeanor conviction. This means it is not a felony conviction, it does not appear on your felony criminal record and it also does not appear on your misdemeanor criminal record. It does appear on your driving record as a conviction for a traffic misdemeanor. It will remain there forever as it cannot be sealed or expunged. It will cause your insurance rate to go up for at least the next 4 years. In some cases, you will have to buy SR 22 Insurance which is 3 years of full coverage insurance including personal injury liability coverage. The reason that a D.U.I. conviction remains on your driving record forever is because a Florida law was passed many years ago that stated that all D.U.I. convictions must be a conviction and not be a withhold of adjudication or a suspended entry of sentence. This prevents a person from sealing their record and getting a free pass as if they never got a D.U.I. in the first place. In other words, if they get a second D.U.I. the Court system will know about it and the person will be punished for a second D.U.I. accordingly. This was lobbied by MADD (Mothers against drunk driving) in order that all D.U.I. convictions will show on a person’s record with no sealing allowed in order to protect the community.
A D.U.I. conviction can affect a person who is applying for certain jobs. For example, a truck driver would have difficulty obtaining a commercial driver’s license; an airplane pilot would not be able to obtain a license to fly a plane. A person applying for a medical doctor position would experience difficulty, as well as an attorney applying to the Bar. There are many jobs that one can obtain with a conviction, but if the job requires a perfect record, you will experience difficulty.
Presently, Monroe, Dade and Palm Beach Counties have come up with a possible program whereby first time offenders for D.U.I. who did not have an accident or injure anyone may be eligible to enroll in the program and upon completion of the school and counseling requirements, the charges can be reduced to reckless driving. This avoids a D.U.I. conviction for life and can allow the person to have a future without the presence of a D.U.I. conviction. In addition, reckless driving without a conviction can be sealed. Therefore, a person could come out of it without any record of D.U.I. or reckless driving.
In order to achieve these results, it is important to hire an attorney who is capable of negotiating for a person in order to get them into these programs, since they are not always available to everyone. These programs do not apply to persons with a second, third or fourth D.U.I. Also, the hiring of an attorney can accomplish these results of either winning your D.U.I. case, or having the charges reduced to reckless driving without having to enter into the program if its available.