Many people make mistakes in their life leading to criminal arrests or convictions. Even worse, sometimes people are falsely accused. These arrests and convictions, however, don’t just go away. They stay with you on your criminal record unless you decide to do something about it.
In today’s age of technology, it is absolutely essential to seal or expunge your criminal record to prevent others from gaining access to that arrest or conviction. Your decision today could be the difference between you getting your dream job tomorrow.
Step 1 – Determine If You Are Eligible
Ask yourself the following questions. Have I ever been arrested for an offense that resulted in an adjudication of guilt? Have I ever sealed or expunged a prior arrest or conviction prior to today?
If your answer to these questions is “yes”, then you are not eligible to seal or expunge your record. If your answer is “no”, then more than likely you will be eligible to seal or expunge your record.
However, you still need to make sure that any judgment against you is not related to an offense that is prohibited under Florida law. Therefore, you should hire an experienced attorney to review your case to ensure that you get the correct legal advice. It is very important to correctly analyze whether you are eligible to file to seal or expunge criminal records. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time and hard earned money on steps 2-4.
Step 2 – Determine If You Need To Seal Or Expunge Your Records
If you are eligible, you should next determine whether you need to seal or expunge your records. If you are seeking an expungement, the law enforcement agency will actually destroy your records. If you are seeking to seal, the clerk of courts will seal your records so they are confidential and are not accessible to third parties.
Obviously, expungement is preferable to sealing. However, you are only eligible to expunge arrests immediately that resulted in a no-file, no action, nolle prosse, or dismissal. If you received a withhold of adjudication or were found not guilty at trial, you must seal your records. You will be eligible to expunge the sealed records after ten years.
Step 3 – Organize and Complete Your Paperwork
After you determine whether you need to seal or expunge records, you now need to get your paperwork together. Here are the records that your will need to complete:
2. Fingerprint Card
3. Certified Copy of Arrest or Conviction
4. $75 Check to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
You can download some of this information on the FDLE website.
Step 4 – File Your Application
After you collect and complete the paperwork above, you are ready to file! Just send everything to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Post Office Box 1489
Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489
Attention: Expunge Section
Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is different and you should request a free consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.