Most of us think of a criminal record as something permanent and unchangeable.
While for the most part convictions are recorded permanently and can follow you on your record for life, there are certain circumstances where your conviction can be removed — or expunged — from your criminal record.
If you’re hoping to clean up your criminal record of past convictions, the best way to do so is to contact a qualified attorney with experience handling expungement requests.
In the state of Florida, it is easy for anyone to access public criminal records. This can make it difficult for anyone with past convictions to obtain work, rent housing, or in some instances even travel.
Fortunately, Florida also offers an expungement program.
What Is Expungement?
To expunge means to “erase completely.” In the legal context, expungement means removing a past conviction from your criminal record.
Expungement is also sometimes referred to as “sealing” — meaning that the particular part of your criminal record which is expunged will be “sealed” and hidden from view.
While expungement constitutes a removal of a particular conviction from your criminal record, it is not forgiveness for a crime. Forgiveness for a crime comes in the form of a pardon, which must be issued by the governor of a state or the President in the case of federal offenses.
Expungement simply removes references to the conviction and criminal offense on your criminal record.
Only certain types of crimes can be expunged. Expungement is most often granted for juvenile offenders. While it can be granted for adults, this process is more complicated and granted with less frequency.
To seek expungement, an individual must apply through the court system where they were convicted. They can then be granted a hearing with a judge, who has the final decision to grant or deny the expungement.
Set aside some time to prepare your documents if you’re eligible for expungement.
How To File An Application For Expungement
The expungement process begins by filing the proper documents for an application at the courthouse where you were convicted.
This can be a complex process. Small mistakes in your application can delay the process for weeks or months. Therefore, it’s essential to get everything right the first time to ensure a speedy application process.
The best way to handle expungement is to seek the assistance of a qualified lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to assist you with the application process and ensure the forms are filled out properly to give you the best chance to be granted a hearing and, eventually, have your record expunged.
Who Is Eligible For Expungement?
To qualify for expungement in the state of Florida, you must meet the following criteria:
- You are not under any type of probation, house arrest, pretrial
- release, or any other form of court ordered supervision
- You have never had another offense expunged or sealed in Florida or any other state
- You did not plead guilty or no contest to the charges You have never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense
Schedule a free consultation
with an experienced Expungement Attorney today!
Should You Get An Attorney For Expungement?
The expungement process is fraught with difficulties. While it is possible to submit the applications yourself, even small errors in details can cause serious delays and complicate the process dramatically.
Your attorney will be able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire process of expungement. With their help, you have a much better chance of being granted an expungement.
A qualified attorney will know how to properly file the necessary documents. They will know the best language to be used when requesting an expungement. Once you are granted an expungement hearing, your lawyer can represent you to the judge to make a legal argument for your expungement.
Hoping to get something expunged from your record? Call us today to schedule a free consultation. We’d love to provide you some advice, answer any questions, and begin the process of applying for your expungement.
Who Can See Expunged Records?
- Prosecutors and Judges
- Public Service Employers
(e.g. the Department of Education, criminal justice agencies)
- Professional Agencies
(e.g. certifying boards for pharmaceutical licenses, etc)
How much does an expungement attorney cost?
Can an expunged record be used against you in court?
As prosecutors and judges will still have access to information about your expunged offenses, it is possible under certain circumstances for a court to use an expunged offense as an indicator of your behavior and it could factor into future cases.
How much does it cost for an expungement / record sealing?
In Florida, you will need to pay a $75 Law Enforcement Application Fee, plus around $50-75 in court fees for an expungement. This does not include any attorney’s fees.
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