If you have been arrested, but never convicted of a crime, it may be possible to have your record expunged or sealed. Broward County expungement lawyers can determine whether your record is eligible for expungement or sealing and help you navigate the process if either of these options are available. Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney that can work tirelessly to get your record expunged.
Expungement and Sealing of Criminal History Records in Florida
Adult criminal history records are subject to public disclosure under the conditions specified in Section 943.053(3) of the Florida Statutes. Juvenile criminal history records are generally not made available to the public unless certain limited exceptions apply.
In Florida, a criminal history record is created when a person is arrested and fingerprinted and includes any formal charges and the disposition thereof, whether it is an acquittal, dismissal, or other disposition. Florida law provides two means of restricting access to criminal history records (adult and juvenile)–expungement and sealing.
Expungement (expunction) is the court-ordered physical destruction of a criminal record. This means that the criminal record will be removed from the databases of any criminal justice agency with custody of the record except for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which must maintain one copy. Criminal justice agencies and other governmental entities are unable to access an expunged record absent a court order.
Different Expungement and Sealing Processes
When a criminal record is sealed, the general public will not have access to it. Certain governmental entities, which includes, but is not limited to those listed in Section 943.059(4)(a), maintain access to the content of the sealed record. Florida law authorizes several types of expungement and sealing processes. Those include:
- Court-ordered sealing or expungement
- Administrative expungement
- Lawful self-defense expungement
- Human trafficking expungement
- Juvenile diversion expungement
- Automatic juvenile expungement
- Early juvenile expungement
A Broward County expungement lawyer can help an individual attempt to expunge their record, regardless of the type of expungement.
Who is Eligible to Have a Record Expunged or Sealed?
The majority of juvenile records in Florida are automatically expunged after a certain period of time. If a juvenile or adult wants to petition a court to have their record sealed or expunged, they must first acquire a Certificate of Eligibility from the FDLE.
An application for a Certificate of Eligibility to expunge or seal a criminal history record will not be issued if the applicant:
- Has been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense, criminal ordinance violation, or adjudicated delinquent for committing a felony or misdemeanor listed in Section 051(3)(b)
- Has been adjudicated guilty (as an adult) or delinquent (as a juvenile) for the offense that they are seeking to have expunged or sealed
- Has received a prior sealing or expungement of a criminal record
- Has a sealing or expungement petition pending before another jurisdiction
- Has not completed court supervision for the alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains
- Has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to a disqualifying charge listed in Section 907.041
When a court orders an individual’s criminal record to be sealed or expunged, they will be able to legally deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest record with specified exceptions.
Contacting a Broward County Expungement Attorney
You can only have a criminal record expunged or sealed once in your lifetime, so it is absolutely critical that the process is done correctly. If you want to know more about the record expungement process, get in touch with a skilled Broward County expungement lawyer that can work diligently to protect your reputation. Contact an attorney to discuss your specific situation and gain insight on how to navigate the record expungement process.