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Eligibility for Expungement or Sealing in Miami

Criminal Lawyers Assisting People in the Miami Area

Miami is the county seat of Miami-Dade County. The Miami Police Department serves the City of Miami. The Miami-Dade Criminal Court has two components: Circuit Criminal and County Criminal. Circuit Criminal receives and processes felony affidavits of probable cause, arrest warrants, and grand jury indictments. County Criminal keeps records of all misdemeanor arrests, among other things. If you have a criminal record and are concerned about your eligibility for expungement or sealing in Miami, you should talk to the Miami expungement lawyers at Hanlon Law about your situation.

Eligibility for Expungement

The eligibility criteria for court-ordered expungement are set forth under Florida Statutes section 943.0585. You may be eligible if you were not charged for the crime by information, indictment, or another charging document. You may also be eligible if there was a charging document, but the charges resulted in one of the following: a not guilty verdict, dismissal by the prosecutor, nolle prosequi, court dismissal, or a judgment of acquittal.

Under section 943.0584, criminal records are ineligible for court-ordered expungement if they pertain to convictions for certain crimes, including certain sex crimes, human trafficking, kidnapping, and violent crimes. A conviction under this code section refers to a determination of guilt, whether the determination is based on a trial verdict, your entry of a guilty or nolo contendere plea, or a finding that you committed or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing a delinquent act, irrespective of whether there was a withholding of an adjudication of delinquency.

You will need to apply for and receive a certificate of eligibility prior to petitioning for court-ordered expungement.

Eligibility for Record Sealing

Florida Statutes section 943.059 governs eligibility for record sealing. You may be eligible if you have never been adjudicated guilty of a crime or adjudicated delinquent for committing a felony or specific misdemeanors, except when the adjudication of delinquency was expunged under section 943.0515. You may be eligible for record sealing if your record is not ineligible under section 943.0584. To obtain record sealing, you cannot have been adjudicated guilty of committing acts stemming from the criminal activity related to the record. Additionally, you cannot be under court supervision, and you cannot have received a prior court-ordered expungement or record sealing.

As with court-ordered expungement, you will need to apply for and receive a certificate of eligibility to petition for record sealing.

Judicial Discretion in Expungements and Sealings

Eligibility for expungement or sealing in Miami is not enough by itself to get this relief. The court will need to consider the facts established in your case. If you try to have your criminal record sealed and meet the requirements of Florida Statutes section 943.059, the trial court has the discretion to deny relief, but only after holding an evidentiary hearing. The court needs to provide a sound reason based on the facts and circumstances. If the court decides to deny your petition, it needs to put forth specific reasoning. In other words, the court does not have unfettered discretion over the issue of whether to expunge or seal your record. However, it does have some discretion, which is why it is so important to consult a knowledgeable attorney.

Other Types of Expungement

Even if you are not eligible for court-ordered expungement or sealing, there are other types of expungement for which you may be eligible. These other procedures include administrative expungement, lawful self-defense expungement, human trafficking expungement, and early juvenile expungement. Some of these forms of relief also require you to obtain a certificate of eligibility.

Consult a Dedicated Expungement Lawyer

Expungement and sealing can offer great benefits to Miami residents who are concerned about the impact of criminal background checks. People who are eligible can find relief through these procedures. If you want to know more about your eligibility for expungement or sealing in Miami, you should talk to the criminal attorneys at Hanlon Law about your circumstances. We have expunged and sealed thousands of criminal records across Florida. Call us at 813.228.7095 or contact us through our online form.

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