An arrest alone can affect your job. Even if the charges are dropped, reduced, or you are found not guilty, an arrest may still appear on a Florida criminal background check. This may affect your job or employment opportunities. For example, “A district chief with the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department has been assigned to desk duty following his arrest this week on suspicion of DUI, an agency spokesperson said Friday.” Jason Tidwell was arrested by the Clay County Sheriff’s Department for driving under the influence of alcohol. “JFRD spokesman Tom Francis said Tidwell, 44, has been moved into an administrative role while his arrest is investigated.”
The Clay County police report stated: “Tidwell was found behind the wheel of a vehicle stuck nose-first in a ditch on County Road 217 about 2 p.m. Dec. 9. Tidwell was seen driving recklessly on Normandy Boulevard, a witness told investigators. He was weaving all over the road and, at one point, passed another driver on the right, the report said. There was a large open bottle of vodka wrapped in a plastic bag riding shotgun next to Tidwell, whose eyes were ‘glassy and bloodshot’ at the time.” (First Coast News)
The news article did not state whether Tidwell entered a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty to this Florida driving under the influence charge. If he pleaded not guilty to the charge, he should be presumed innocent. However, it still affects his job as he now has a new role due to the arrest. A DUI arrest may result in a Florida drivers license suspension, even if the driver is never convicted of the charge.
Another concern is the ability to seal or expunge a DUI charge. Florida Statute Section 316.656 states, “Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 948.01, no court may suspend, defer, or withhold adjudication of guilt or imposition of sentence for any violation of s. 316.193, for manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle, or for vehicular homicide.” This means that if you plead guilty or no contest to driving under the influence in Florida, the court is required to adjudicate you guilty. Adjudication of guilt is a criminal conviction. Under Florida Statute Section 943.059, you cannot seal a criminal conviction. Therefore, if you pleaded guilty or no contest to a DUI charge, you would be adjudicated guilty of the charge. Since you have been convicted, you would not be able to seal this Florida record.