Individuals who have a criminal conviction in Florida can attempt to have their records either sealed or expunged. A person looking to seal or expunge his criminal record must meet certain requirements for either process.
A person looking to seal his criminal record in Florida must:
Have never previously received a record sealing or expungement.
In Florida, record sealing and expungement lead to similar results. The main difference is that a person who may be eligible to have his record sealed may not be eligible to have his record expunged. A person can apply for a record sealing if he entered a plea or a jury acquitted him and he received a “withhold of adjudication.” Essentially, sealing your record will make it so that the public cannot find information about your case.
What is expungement in Florida?
Expunging an arrest means that all traces of that arrest are physically destroyed except for one file that remains in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Expunging an arrest or charge allows a person to legally state on background checks that he or she has never been convicted of an offense. Having one’s record expunged is the closest one can get to completely erasing one’s criminal past. A person’s arrest or criminal charge won’t show up on a background check after the arrest or charge has been expunged.
Are criminal records ever automatically expunged in Florida?
Criminal records in Florida are not automatically expunged. In order for you to have the expungement of a criminal record and the case history, you must apply with the Department of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee, along with the State Attorney’s office and the Clerk of Court, and eventually obtain a court order for the expungement or destruction of those arrest records.
Can an expungement be denied in Florida?
A person’s application for expungement may be denied if he or she failed to meet the qualifications for an expungement. The requirements to have one’s arrest or criminal charge are:
The person had the underlying charge dismissed or dropped
The person has never previously had his record sealed or expunged
The person has no criminal past
Not everyone who is eligible to have their record expunged receives the desired outcome. The court has complete discretion when determining whether to grant the expungement. Typically, the court will award the expungement based on what the statute allows.
What can be expunged from a criminal record in Florida?
Expungements are typically available only in cases where no charges were filed, charges were dismissed, or when the criminal record you wish to be expunged has been sealed for ten years. Expungement is not possible for a variety of crimes, which includes crimes that can be sealed rather than expunged. To know whether your arrest or charge may be expunged, speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer like Brian Gabriel, who will also be pleased to help you work through the complicated expungement process.