If you have ever been arrested or have a criminal history, you may find that the record of your history is causing you problems. In Florida, you have the ability to ask a court to seal or expunge your criminal record. Once a criminal record is sealed or expunged, it is no longer accessible to the public. For this to happen, however, you must meet the criteria in Florida Statutes Sections 943.0585 and 943.059.
First, the eligibility criteria require that the person seeking sealing or expungement must not have previously had a record sealed or expunged. This means that you can only seal or expunge one record, during one court proceeding. In the course of that proceeding, you can also seal or expunge multiple records if the court finds that the offenses in question were directly related.
Second, the eligibility criteria require the person seeking sealing or expungement to never have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense in the state of Florida. The person must also never have been adjudicated delinquent in this state for committing a felony or certain misdemeanors, including assault, battery, petit theft, arson, child neglect, animal cruelty, and various weapons offenses. The only exception would be if the record of adjudication of delinquency was itself expunged under Florida Statutes Section 943.0515.
If you meet the above criteria and you were charged in a case where the charge was dropped or dismissed, you may be able to have that record expunged. If you were tried by a trial court and the court withheld adjudication of guilt, you may be able to have those records sealed. If the court did not withhold adjudication of guilt and you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, you are not eligible to have your record sealed or expunged.
In addition to all of the above, there are certain offenses in Florida that are considered “ineligible”. The list of these offenses is lengthy, and it includes sex crimes, assault, battery, burglary, and drug trafficking.
The rules and the process relating to the sealing or expungement of a criminal record can be complicated. It is wise to consult with a good criminal defense attorney to see if you are eligible, and to get the process started if you are. Contact the Robert Foley Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your eligibility for a record sealing or expungement.