It can be challenging to have a criminal record if you hope to find a new job, obtain a professional license, or rent a home. Expungement or sealing of your record can restrict access to the record. With expungement, the record is physically destroyed, while when the records are sealed, they are restricted but not destroyed. If you want to go through the expungement filing process in Florida, you should retain the Florida expungement attorneys at Hanlon Law.Filing for Expungement
Filing for a judicial expungement is a distinct process from filing to have your records sealed. If the court approves your petition to have your records expunged, you can legally deny or not acknowledge your prior criminal history. The physical record will be destroyed, although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will retain a confidential copy that can be viewed only by court order.
Not everyone is eligible to obtain a judicial expungement; generally, you can obtain an expungement only if no charges were filed or if they were dismissed. There are also other types of expungement, such as administrative expungement.Certificate of Eligibility
The process of expungement filing starts with filing an application for a certificate of eligibility with the FDLE. This is a mandated first step in the process of obtaining an expungement. Along with filing the application, you will need to submit a certified copy of the final disposition of the case at issue and a full set of fingerprints, and then the agency will decide whether to grant a certificate of eligibility. The clerk of court can give you a certified disposition of your charge and the arrest affidavit. These documents spell out the date when you were arrested, the agency that arrested you, and how your charges were resolved.
Before you are issued a certificate of eligibility, the FDLE will determine whether you are statutorily eligible to petition the court to have your criminal history record expunged or sealed. There are several reasons why a certificate of eligibility could be denied. A certificate may be denied if:
- The record shows that you have been adjudicated guilty as an adult of a crime or that you were adjudicated delinquent for perpetrating a felony or misdemeanor under section 943.051(3)(b), such as assault or carrying a concealed weapon;
- The record shows that you were adjudicated guilty or delinquent for perpetrating one or more acts arising out of an arrest or alleged crime that is relevant to the application;
- The record shows that you have already received a judicial sealing or expungement of your criminal history record under certain code sections; or
- The criminal history record that you want to be expunged relates to certain crimes that are ineligible for expungement, such as predicate offenses for registration as a sexual predator.
Once you have received a certificate of eligibility, our lawyers can help you file your expungement petition. You will need to file your petition for expungement with the court that handled the case. A copy of your filing needs to be presented to the agency that arrested you, along with the state attorney or prosecutor.Expungement
If the court grants your petition for expungement, an order will be sent to the departments where records of the incident are kept. These records will be destroyed, but a confidential copy will be maintained with the FDLE.Consult a Seasoned Florida Attorney
You may be haunted by a past arrest or charge. There are significant benefits to having your criminal record expunged. You may find it easier to obtain a job, housing, or a professional license if your record is expunged. However, the process of figuring out whether you are eligible and applying for a Certificate of Eligibility and then for the expungement can be challenging. At Hanlon Law, our lawyers can help with the expungement filing process. Call us at 813.228.7095 or contact us through our online form.