What Charges Can Be Expunged in Florida?
As criminal records are easy to access in the state, a criminal charge could haunt you for the rest of your life. Fortunately, Florida’s laws allow certain individuals to have their records sealed or expunged. However, to start on a clean slate you will have to meet certain criteria; namely, you cannot have prior convictions and you can only make use of this privilege once in your lifetime.
Sealing and expunging serve similar purposes as they will both prevent the public from accessing records tied to your charges. When records are expunged, they are essentially deleted. While the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will keep a confidential record of your arrest or charge, even other agencies and entities within the criminal justice system will be unable to gain access to this information. Expungement usually only applies in cases where the judge or prosecutor completely dismissed the charges against you.
When records are sealed, they are not deleted; instead, this information is placed under strict government protection. As such, your records will be marked confidential and cannot be publicly disclosed, but the criminal justice system will still have access.
How Can I Apply to Have My Record Expunged?
If you were arrested for or charged with a crime, you may be eligible to have your record expunged or sealed by applying for a certificate from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. However, if you have at any point your life been convicted of a criminal offense, you will usually be disqualified from this process. Additionally, there are certain crimes that cannot be sealed or expunged. A criminal defense attorney can assess your situation to determine whether or not you are eligible.
How Long Will It Take to Seal or Expunge My Criminal Record?
There are many factors that could affect the timeline of the application process, so it’s impossible to guarantee a specific duration. Typically, this process takes about six to seven months. Keep in mind, however, that if you’ve made any mistakes filling out your forms or failed to provide certain documents, your application could be rejected.
A criminal defense attorney can help you tackle the filing process and oversee any other logistics related to preparing your application. If your request was denied, a lawyer can discuss how best to proceed with your case to have your record sealed or expunged.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Port St. Lucie Criminal Defense Attorney
A blemished criminal record is a severe handicap that can affect your ability to live a normal life. Fortunately, it may be possible to have your records sealed or expunged. If you need help with this process, turn to criminal defense attorney Todd A. Kawecki.
Todd’s experience as a former prosecutor has armed him with an intimate understanding of Florida’s court system, statutes, and laws. He can guide you through the application process, helping you avoid common mistakes and other issues that might cost you a favorable outcome. To discuss your situation with a Florida criminal defense attorney, reach out to us at 772-485-4500 or head over to our contact form HERE.