Expungement may be a means of rebuilding your life after making a mistake. You could have the opportunity to make a fresh start in seeking employment, housing, and higher education. However, determining your eligibility for expungement and a sealing of your criminal records is not always a simple process.
One of our determined Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert can assess your situation and determine which records are eligible for expungement or sealing under Florida law. A Lake Worth expungement Lawyer may be able to assist you with expunging or sealing records related to your criminal past and prohibit them from being accessed from the public. An experienced criminal attorney could help you understand your rights and legal options.
Expungement and Sealing Criminal Records in Lake Worth
Although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement retains one copy of your expunged criminal history, your destroyed expunged record would not be available to the public or other government agencies.
Unlike expungement, sealing criminal records does not result in their physical destruction. Instead, Law Enforcement agencies seal your records from public view. Some government agencies still retain access to your records and others may be able to access your records with a Court order.
Eligibility Requirements for an Expungement
Your criminal record may be eligible for expungement under Florida law if you fall into one of the following categories:
- The State Attorney’s Office did not file or nolle prossed criminal charges
- The Court dismissed criminal charges
- An acquittal or a “not guilty” verdict following a trial
With this in mind, records of any criminal convictions are not eligible for expungement. Even if you were adjudicated or pled guilty to one criminal charge, and other various criminal charges related to the same incident were dismissed, none of the dismissed charges would be eligible for expungement.
Furthermore, if you received a prior Court order for expunging or sealing criminal records, you may be ineligible for a subsequent expungement or sealing of your records. Fla. Stat. § 943.0585 also specifies certain records of criminal offenses that are ineligible for expunction, which includes most sex offenses, child abuse, voyeurism, and fraud offenses. An experienced Lake Worth expungement Lawyer could help determine whether the expungement of criminal records is a viable legal option.
Process of Expunging a Criminal Record
If you are seeking an expungement of your criminal records, you should first apply for expungement from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). If FLDE approves your application, it would issue a certificate of eligibility, which is necessary to get a Court order of expungement. After submitting a petition to seal or expunge your record, the Court may either grant or deny your petition.
Despite a successful expungement of records, some government agencies and entities may still be able to learn whether you have an expunged offense. These entities may include:
- Criminal justice agencies
- Department of Children and Family Services
- Any public or private schools
- Government agencies that license childcare facilities
Nonetheless, these, and other selected agencies are not entitled to any details about your expunged offense. A knowledgeable expungement attorney in Lake Worth can provide further information about which agencies have access to your expunged records and the extent of their access.
Call a Lake Worth Expungement Attorney for Advice
Once you have attained an expungement order for your criminal records, you no longer must admit that you were arrested or charged with a criminal offense. However, there are still situations in which you must acknowledge the arrest or charges, such as if you are seeking employment with a criminal justice agency or any position having contact with children. A Lake Worth expungement Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert may be able to tell you about the limitations of expungement of criminal records and whether an expungement order would be useful in your case.
An expungement order or a Court order sealing your records may be vital towards moving on with your life. One of our trusted Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert may be able to represent you in seeking an expungement of your eligible criminal records.