If you were unlawfully arrested or arrested by mistake in Florida, you may be able to obtain an administrative expungement (also known as administrative expunction), rather than a judicial expungement. Unlike a judicial expungement, you do not need to pay costs for an administrative expungement. Also unlike a judicial expungement, the administrative expungement completely erases your arrest record and information. However, a lawful arrest that was not made in error cannot be administratively expunged. At Hanlon Law, our Florida administrative expungement lawyers can represent you throughout the process of seeking and obtaining an administrative expungement.Administrative Expungement
While a judicial expungement can take many months and require substantial paperwork, an administrative expungement can be obtained more readily. However, most people are not eligible for an administrative expungement, and they are rarely obtained. Eligibility for an administrative expungement is explained by Florida Statutes section 943.0581.
Under section 943.0581, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement can put in place rules for the administrative expungement of any non-judicial record of an arrest of a minor or adult that was made by mistake or that was against the law. A law enforcement agency that deems an arrest mistaken or unlawful can file an application with the Department based on the rule for administrative expungements. However, in most cases, law enforcement agencies do not want to admit that they have made a mistaken or unlawful arrest. It can be difficult to get the agency to file the application for the administrative expungement, and you will likely need to do it yourself with the help of an administrative expungement attorney in Florida.
An adult who was arrested or the parent of a minor can apply directly for an administrative expungement of a non-judicial record of an arrest if they claim that the arrest was made illegally or in error. However, this application still needs to include an endorsement from either the head of the agency that conducted the arrest or the state attorney of the judicial circuit where the arrest happened. A designee can sign the application on behalf of the chief of police or the state attorney. Alternatively, you may be able to get an administrative expungement by including an order from the court that found that the arrest was mistaken or illegal.Contents of the Application
An application for an administrative expungement must be on the submitting agency’s letterhead and signed by the head of the submitting agency. It also needs to include certain information, such as the name of the person arrested, the offender-based tracking system number, and the crimes that were charged. The application for an administrative expungement cannot be used as evidence in a judicial or administrative proceeding, and it cannot be treated as an admission that you were liable regarding the arrest.Benefits of Administrative Expungement
The administrative expungement process is free and takes less time than does a judicial expungement, even though you should still consult a Florida administrative expungement attorney to guide you. When you obtain a judicial expungement, your fingerprints and other identifying information remain in non-public records. By contrast, everything related to the arrest, including fingerprints, is destroyed in an administrative expungement. It is a complete erasure of the arrest data of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.What Counts as an Unlawful or Mistaken Arrest?
An arrest is unlawful when a police officer does not possess probable cause to make the arrest in the first place. Sometimes arrests are mistaken because the wrong person with the same name was arrested. When an arrest is unlawful or mistaken, you should take advantage of the administrative expungement option. You have only one opportunity to apply for a judicial expungement or sealing of your criminal record, and if you are eligible to obtain an administrative expungement instead, you can preserve that opportunity.Retain a Seasoned Administrative Expungement Attorney
An arrest record can haunt you into the future, affecting your reputation, along with your opportunities to rent a home or get a job or go to a university or obtain a professional license. An administrative expungement allows you to wipe the slate clean. If you are interested in obtaining an administrative expungement, we can discuss your situation with you. Call us at 800.373.1974 or contact us through our online form to speak with an administrative expungement lawyer in Florida.