An arrest can have devastating effects on your career, education and even on your ability to obtain a loan or find housing. In certain cases, we can seal or expunge your criminal records.
Subject to certain limited exceptions, an individual may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge an arrest covered by a sealed or expunged record.
Furthermore, with some exceptions, a sealed record will not show up in most criminal background checks. If your record is expunged, any entity that would otherwise have access to a sealed record will be informed that the record has been expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order.
You may only seal a record that did not result in a criminal conviction.
A withhold of adjudication is not a conviction, and, as such, you may seal the record for a case for which you received a withhold of adjudication.
To obtain an expunction, you must be able to show:
- That the case was dismissed,
- That no formal charges were filed, or
- That the case has been sealed for 10 years.
Florida Statutes 943.059 enumerates certain offenses that may not be sealed regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.
- Among the offenses not eligible for sealing are those related to sexual misconduct, trafficking in controlled substances and certain crimes considered “dangerous crimes” which include but are not limited to, homicide, kidnapping, stalking, child abuse, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and even domestic violence. A criminal history record relating to these offenses may only be expunged if they were dismissed prior to trial.
A petition to seal or expunge a criminal record requires a sworn statement from the petitioner. Some facts that must be attested to in this petition are:
- That the petitioner has never been adjudicated guilty of a crime or adjudicated delinquent for certain juvenile offenses;
- That the petitioner has never previously sealed or expunged a criminal history record (except for an expunction sought for a criminal record previously sealed for 10 years);
- That the petitioner does not have any other Petition to seal or expunge pending before any other court.
All Petitions to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record must be accompanied by a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This certificate is filed along with the Petition and your Affidavit showing that you are eligible to have your records Sealed or Expunged. The prosecutor and law enforcement agency that made the arrest has the right to respond to the Petition. The court may require a hearing on the matter.
Courts have the discretion whether to grant a Petition to Seal or Expunge. We will present the best Petition for your case, prepare you for any necessary hearing and attend the hearing with you.
Having an experienced attorney on your side minimizes the possibility that your Petition will be denied.
Contact us today to start the process of Sealing or Expunging your criminal record.