Can your past come back to haunt you? If you have a criminal record in Florida, then, yes, your past can come back to bite you like a vicious dog. It may have been years since you last committed a crime. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that your convictions won’t show up in a public database search. This can hurt your chances of seeking employment and housing. If you want to know more about how to get your record expunged in Florida, then keep reading.
Types Of Expungements And Record Sealings
An expungement or record sealing is the process of erasing certain arrests and convictions. Once a conviction is expunged or sealed, it will not appear on public databases. However, certain government agencies may still have access to your criminal record through private searches. But your criminal record may only be accessed in limited, specified circumstances.
There are eight types of expungements or record sealing allowable in Florida.
Administrative—If you were arrested as a juvenile (under 18) or as an adult by a mistake of law, then this arrest may be expunged.
Court-Ordered—You may send an application to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to request a Certificate of Eligibility to Expunge or Seal your record. The application costs $75. You’ll need to sign and date the application in front of a notary public or court clerk deputy. You’ll also need to do a host of other things that are rather complicated, so it’s wisest that you contact knowledgeable Florida expungement attorneys before you move ahead. This is something that’s best not to do on your own.
Automatic Sealing—The Clerk of Courts will submit a certified disposition to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for any criminal record that qualifies for automatic record sealing.
Self-Defense—If your criminal matter was dismissed, you are eligible to apply for a Lawful Self-Defense Certificate of Eligibility. But the appropriate state attorney or prosecutor must agree and certify that you did, indeed, act in self-defense first.
Human Trafficking—If you were the victim/survivor of human trafficking and you were arrested or had charges filed against you because of it, then you may ask the court to have your record expunged.
Juvenile Diversion—If you completed a juvenile diversion program for a misdemeanor crime, then you may ask the court to have your record expunged.
Early Juvenile—If you are between 18 and 21, and you have not been charged with nor convicted of any criminal offenses within the past five years, then you may ask the court for this type of expungement. Bear in mind that it must also be true you weren’t charged with nor convicted of the arrest you want to be expunged. Moreover, you’ll need the appropriate state attorney or prosecutor to approve this type of expungement.
Automatic Juvenile Expungement—Criminal records of juveniles (under 18) are automatically expunged once you turn 21. However, if you were sent to prison as a juvenile, your record will automatically expunge at 26 unless you were later convicted of certain crimes as an adult.
Who’s Not Eligible For Expungements And Record Sealings
Florida’s expungement and record sealing laws aren’t as far-reaching as those of other states. Your application can be denied for several reasons. For example, your application will be denied if you were adjudicated delinquent for certain felonies and misdemeanors, such as assault or child neglect. There are even more offenses that aren’t eligible for expungement or record sealing. These include:
- Sexual misconduct
- (Aggravated) Stalking
Don’t try to figure this out on your own. Getting your criminal record expunged or sealed in Florida is a complex and sometimes lengthy process. It’s better to leave the inner workings of it to expert Florida expungement attorneys.
Benefits Of Getting Your Record Expunged Or Sealed
A world of new opportunities opens to you if you get your record expunged. Certain rights that were stripped from you are put back in place. For example, your right to own a firearm can be restored. Not only is this beneficial for your self-protection, but it also means that you can apply for a wider range of jobs, particularly those requiring a license to carry. Because landlords run background checks, it is less likely that you will be discriminated against once your record is cleaned up. Not to mention, you don’t have to admit to an employer any arrests and convictions that were expunged or sealed away.
Florida Expungement Lawyers
Koberlein Law Offices provides you with a team of experienced Florida expungement attorneys. We know the law, and we’re here to see to it that your rights are restored. Don’t waste any more time. Call our law office for a free consultation at 877.556.2889 (toll-free) or contact us online.