Most states allow people to seal or expunge records to avoid having their arrest history affect important aspects in their lives such as employment, housing and even relationships. Criminal records in Florida are easily accessed by anyone so it’s not uncommon to want your arrest to disappear so you can start fresh. Expungement can help you start over, but the first step is to find out if you are eligible.
Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Records
Both a sealing or expungement in Florida will completely remove the arrest from your records. However, an expungement seals and destroys the record of the arrest and case. Sealing a record means exactly that; it’s sealed which restricts it from public access but some government agencies can still review the record.
Expunge Arrest Records in Florida
Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies to have their record expunged or sealed in Florida. Arrest records in other states as well as some criminal offenses, such as felonies and certain misdemeanors, may make some people ineligible. While expungements are at the sole discretion of the court system, enlisting the help of an experienced attorney can ensure the paperwork is completed correctly and the process moves along smoothly.
Do I Qualify For Record Expungement & Sealing?
In the state of Florida, only individuals who have not been previously been convicted another crime are eligible to seal or expunge their record. This includes being convicted of a crime outside of Florida, you will not qualify for expunction, regardless of how old the conviction is.
You may confirm you are eligible for court-ordered expungement or record sealing by applying for a certificate of eligibility through FDLE – Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This does not mean your criminal record has been cleared, it simply gives you permission to petition the court.
Expunging Your Record in Florida
Once you have received your certificate of eligibility qualifying you for expunging or sealing services, you must petition the same court that processed your arrest. This is a complicated legal process that you may attempt on your own or you may choose to hire an attorney to represent you. Because there are exceptions to the law and to the types of crimes that qualify for expunction services, contacting an attorney to review your case may be in your best interest.
Hiring a Professional To Expunge Your Records
The easiest way to expunge and seal records in Florida is to hire an expert who specializes in it. Frank Chavez Bail Bonds offers records expunging and sealing services. Call us to find out if we can help clear your records.