Eligibility for Expungement or Sealing
Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to obtain an expungement or sealing of your criminal record. When a record is sealed, it is made confidential so that the public is not able to view it, but usually government agencies will still be able to access it. However, when a criminal record is expunged, the information and documents that make up the record are destroyed, with the exception of a copy that is kept confidentially with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Government agencies cannot access it, except through a court order. For many people, expungement or sealing can have huge benefits in terms of job searches, housing searches, and education. If you want to investigate your eligibility for expungement or sealing, you should consult the Florida expungement lawyers at Hanlon Law.Eligibility for Court-Ordered Expungement
There are various types of expungement available under Florida law. These include court-ordered expungement, human trafficking victim expungement, early juvenile expungement, and lawful self-defense expungement.
Florida law includes eligibility requirements for court-ordered expungement under section 943.0584. You can be eligible for this relief if you were arrested but not charged. You can also be eligible if a charging document was filed or issued, such that there is a criminal history record, but the charges resulted in a dismissal or nolle prosequi, a judgment of acquittal, or a not guilty verdict.What Renders You Ineligible for Court-Ordered Expungement?
You will not be eligible for court-ordered expungement if you have been adjudicated guilty or delinquent for committing a felony or certain misdemeanors. Generally, you also cannot have been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any acts arising out of the arrest or crime to which your petition relates.
You cannot be under court supervision, such as probation, related to the criminal activity associated with the petition. You cannot have gotten a prior expungement or sealing of a criminal history record under specific code sections, unless you are asking for expungement of a record that was sealed for a decade.
In Florida, you cannot petition more than once to obtain a court-ordered expungement or sealing of your records. You should be aware that pardons and clemency do not automatically entitle you to eligibility for expungement or sealing. The pardon needs to specify that you are entitled to have your record sealed or expunged, and then you still need to be eligible under the other rules.Eligibility for Record Sealing
You can be eligible to have your record sealed if the record is not ineligible under section 943.059, and you were not convicted, or adjudication of guilt was withheld. To be eligible for record sealing, you must not be under probation or some other form of court supervision.Ineligible Crimes
To get your record expunged or sealed, you must not have entered a guilty or no contest plea to one of the many crimes that would make you ineligible. These crimes include various sex crimes involving children, sexual battery, arson, aggravated assault or aggravated battery, manufacturing of controlled substances, and more.Eligibility for Other Types of Expungement
Even if you are not eligible for court-ordered expungement, our attorneys may be able to help you seek another kind of expungement. For example, a human trafficking victim who has been arrested for or convicted of prostitution or obscenity can petition for expungement of their criminal record under section 943.0583. The petition needs to be accompanied by a sworn statement attesting to your eligibility, official documentation that you were a human trafficking victim (if it exists), and a statement that you do not have another pending petition for expungement or sealing.Certificate of Eligibility
To petition the court for expungement or sealing, assuming that you are eligible, you will need to obtain a certificate of eligibility. There is an application to fill out, and you will need to be fingerprinted and submit a completed fingerprint card, along with a certified disposition of the case that you want to have expunged or sealed, a certified copy of termination of probation if it is applicable, and a non-refundable money order or cashier’s check for the correct amount. It takes roughly 90 days to process the application. If a Certificate of Eligibility is issued, you can file a petition for expungement or sealing.Retain an Experienced Florida Lawyer
If you are exploring your eligibility for expungement or sealing in Florida, you should retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Call Hanlon Law at 813.228.7095 or contact us through our online form.