The process for expunging or sealing criminal records in Florida often involves complicated legal matters and multiple steps. Having an experienced lawyer assist you with the expungement or sealing process can ensure that your application is accurate and complete.
Boca Raton expungement lawyers can help you navigate the complex expungement and sealing process or seek a judicial review if your application has been erroneously denied. Speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney that can help you start anew.
Criminal Records in Florida
In Florida, the criminal history records of adults can be accessed by the public unless they have been sealed or expunged (also known as expunction). Under Section 943.045 of the Florida Statutes, a criminal history record means any arrest and the disposition of any charges stemming from an arrest.
Before a person can petition a court to seal or expunge their record, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) must first issue a Certificate of Eligibility. Generally speaking, an applicant is not eligible to have a record sealed or expunged if they:
- Has been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense as an adult
- Previously had a record sealed or expunged in Florida
- Is currently under any form of court supervision such as probation or house arrest
- Has entered a plea of guilty or no contest to a disqualifying offense listed in Sections 943.059 or 943.0585
A knowledgeable Boca Raton expungement attorney help individuals determine whether they are available for expungement or not.
Expungement of a Criminal Record
Expungement is the physical and/or electronic destruction of a person’s criminal record. Once a record is expunged, the public no longer has access to it and one copy of it will be retained by the FDLE. Entities that would have access to a sealed record will know that a person’s record has been expunged, but will not be able to access the contents of the record without a court order.
There are several types of expungement under Florida law. Types of expungement include administrative, court-ordered, juvenile, lawful self-defense, and human trafficking expungement. When a record is sealed, the public will not be able to view it, but certain local, state and federal governmental (e.g. court system) and criminal justice agencies will still have access to the sealed record information. The sealing of a record is accomplished via court order and is effective once a certified copy of the order has been received by the FDLE.
Benefit of Expunging or Sealing a Record
The primary benefit of having a criminal record sealed or expunged is being able to legally deny or fail to acknowledge the applicable arrest or charge. However, there are several exceptions that will require disclosure of a sealed or expunged record. Those include, but are not limited to:
- Seeking admission to the Florida Bar
- Candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency
- Petitioning the court to have another criminal matter expunged or sealed
- A defendant in a criminal case
Seeking employment, contract, or license with:
- Department of Children and Family Services
- Department of Juvenile Justice
- Department of Education
- Any public, charter, private or parochial school
Contacting a Boca Raton Expungement Lawyer
People make mistakes. You may have committed crimes in your past but that does not mean that you do not deserve a second chance. A Boca Raton expungement lawyer can understand how valuable it is to have your record expunged or sealed. To find out if you are eligible, or for assistance with the expungement or sealing process, contact an attorney for assistance. Let a qualified criminal defense attorney advocate for you.