Understanding the Expungement Process in Florida
In certain circumstances, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) allows for a person’s criminal record to be expunged (removed) or sealed (placed under restricted access).
Do You Qualify?
Before an adult criminal record can be sealed or expunged, the following criteria must be established:
Number of arrests during your lifetime: It’s extremely important to cite this information accurately, as the outcome of your expungement or record sealing could depend on the number of previous arrests on your record.
Number of convictions during your lifetime: If you were convicted of a criminal offense, no matter how minor or severe the offense may have been, you will not be eligible to expunge or seal your criminal record. Convictions are taken as an automatic disqualification.
Number of previous arrests that have been sealed or expunged. You can only seal or expunge one arrest record per proceeding. If the court deems two or more arrests to be related, there’s a chance you’ll be able to seal or expunge more than one record at the same time. A previous expungement or record sealing, especially within the last 10 years, could also significantly impact your ability to have anything expunged now.
Did you know? In Florida, you can be found guilty of a criminal offense but not actually convicted. Make sure you know the difference and which applies to your case, as this will seriously affect your ability to seek expungement. The same exception applies to persons who pled no contest to a criminal charge.
Record Sealing vs. Expungement
When your criminal history record is sealed, only specified government agencies and related organizations can see it. Your record will not be open to the public.
When your criminal history record is expunged, neither the public nor government agencies will have access to it. Government organizations will be informed only that the subject of record has been expunged; they won’t receive any information beyond this general knowledge.
Need an expungement attorney in West Palm Beach? Contact us at Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre, & Walsh, P.A. for a confidential consultation.