One poor decision that results in an arrest should not cloud your life forever. In some circumstances, you may be eligible to have your criminal records sealed or expunged, removing them from public view. A Deerfield Beach expungement lawyer can analyze your situation and determine whether these remedies are available in your case.
By removing access to a criminal record that appears on background checks by employers, you may have more opportunities to pursue some jobs and careers. You could also avoid the social stigma that often accompanies a criminal background. One of our professional criminal Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert may be able to seal or expunge your records to improve your future.
Sealing Records in Deerfield Beach
Sealing records often allows individuals to get a fresh start by hiding their criminal records from public view. For instance, sealed records will not appear in background checks that employers routinely perform for job applicants. However, there are various exceptions to the sealing of records. The existence of a criminal record is still subject to disclosure if individuals:
- Apply for positions such as with criminal justice agencies or seaports, and some public schools, private schools, and daycare facilities
- Are the subject of a future criminal prosecution
- Seek licensure from the Florida Bar to practice law, or licenses, employment, or contracts through some government agencies, such as the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Healthcare Administration
- Are seeking to purchase firearms
Expungement of Records
Expungement is a different and separate process from the process of sealing criminal records. When records are expunged, they are physically destroyed, except for one copy of the records that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLE) maintains. FLE can disclose the existence of an expunged record to criminal justice agencies, but its employees cannot disclose the records to the inquiring agencies.
Fla. Stat. § 943.0585 places significant restrictions on the type of records that individuals may expunge. Individuals must obtain a certificate of expungement from a court before they can expunge their records. The only records that are eligible for expungement are informations, indictments, or charging documents that:
- A prosecutor never filed with the court
- A prosecutor, state attorney, or court dismissed or nolle prosequi
- Resulted in an acquittal by a judge or a verdict of not guilty by a judge or jury
Therefore, the expungement of a criminal conviction or sentence is not an available remedy under state law. A Deerfield Beach expungement Lawyer can help assess whether criminal records are appropriate for expungement.
Eligibility for Expungement of Records
Some people are ineligible to file for expungement. If individuals have ever been convicted of a Felony offense or some Misdemeanor offenses, they cannot file for expungement, unless the offense resulted in an adjudication of delinquency that later was expunged. These Misdemeanor offenses include assault, battery, some weapons violations, arson, and neglect of a child, among others.
Furthermore, the state expungement statute places other limitations on the eligibility of individuals for expungement. For instance, individuals may not have been adjudicated guilty of or delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the records that they wish to expunge. Likewise, they are ineligible for expungement if they currently are under court supervision for an arrest or criminal act related to the records that they want to have expunged.
Individuals also generally cannot expunge their records if they previously received an expungement or sealing of records. The only exception is for the expungement of a criminal history record that has already been sealed for at least ten years. An expungement attorney in Deerfield Beach may be able to determine whether expungement is a possibility for specific criminal records.
Contact a Deerfield Beach Expungement Attorney for Advice
Determining the eligibility requirements for the expungement and sealing of records can be complicated. The procedures for obtaining this form of relief also can be challenging if you attempt to handle them on your own. As a result, getting the advice of a Deerfield Beach expungement lawyer may be in your best interests.
Various types of expungement and sealing may be available, depending on your circumstances. To fully explore all potential options, you may want to get guidance from one of our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert who is experienced in handling these matters.