If you have ever been through Florida’s criminal justice system, you may be wondering whether or not you are eligible to seal or expunge your record.
There is a legal difference between sealing and expunction. Sealing, which is governed primarily by Fla. Stat. § 943.059, means that a court record is prevented from viewing by the public. Expunction, which is governed primarily by Fla. Stat. § 943.0585, means that, in theory, a court record is physically destroyed. In practice, it means only that a requesting entity would be informed that such records were expunged and they would not be made available absent a court order.
Eligibility: The process of sealing and expunction is managed by Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement. By law, one interested in sealing or expunction must submit an application for a Certification of Eligibility and meet certain criteria.
Once In A Lifetime: A person may only be permitted to seal or expunge their record once. For example, if John Smith is arrested for disorderly intoxication and later has his charges dismissed before trial, he may have that record expunged. If he elects to seal or expunge that criminal record but years later gets rearrested on a new count, that newer count will not be eligible for sealing or expunction no matter what the outcome.
Since Florida’s laws governing criminal records are so strict, it is advisable to have the assistance of an attorney. Jordan Redavid can help walk you through this process, and he is available 24/7 to discuss your particular case.
What If My Case Was Dismissed/Dropped? By law, unless a record is sealed or expunged, it may be viewable by the public. This might include evidence that you were arrested. By definition, a criminal history record is created once you are arrested and fingerprinted. That record will also include the disposition of that arrest (conviction, acquittal, dismissal pre-trial, etc.). So even if your case was dismissed or dropped, there is likely a criminal history record out there.
Any person may request a copy of his or her criminal record for purposes of review. However, you do not need to conduct a personal review prior to applying for sealing or expunction.
Some Charges Cannot Be Sealed or Expunged: Not all criminal charges or records of arrest may be sealed or expunged. Such crimes include mostly violent crimes and sexual crimes. The FDLE publishes a complete list. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced criminal records attorney like Jordan Redavid before you begin the process.
Convictions v. Withholds of Adjudications: Just because you received a withhold of adjudication in your case does not necessarily mean you’re entitled to have it sealed or expunged. Many judges mistakenly inform defendants accepting a plea bargain that they will be permitted to seal or expunge when, in fact, that’s not true. If you have been adjudicated guilty (convicted) of any criminal offense, no record is eligible.
I handle all varieties of criminal defense, DUI, civil rights and personal injury cases.
In criminal defense, results matter most. I am able to handle a wide variety of criminal matters successfully, including:
I began my career as Miami DUI attorney, and have valuable experience protecting individuals facing a DUI charge.
My goal is to get involved as early as possible to do everything I can to help you or your loved one.
These crimes usually involve a variety of state and federal laws, and they demand the attention to detail I will give them.
Our rights serve as the bedrock of our democratic society. That’s why when those rights are violated, the violators need to be brought to justice.
The key to success in such cases is not limited to what occured; it is also tied to how you and your lawyer respond.