It’s not uncommon to want your criminal record to disappear so you can make a fresh start. Having your arrest record expunged can help you start over but the first step is to find out if you are eligible. In Florida, only individuals who have not been convicted of a crime are eligible to seal or expunge their record. There are certain crimes that may automatically disqualify you and state law prohibits more than one expungement in a lifetime.
Crimes That May Be Expunged or Sealed
As long as you were not convicted and charges were dismissed, many criminal offenses can be removed from your record. Most juvenile arrests and charges can also be removed. That means most non-violent crimes, without conviction or adjudication, can be expunged. Under Florida law, the following low-level offenses may be eligible for expungement:
- Underage consumption, purchase, or possession of alcohol
- Disorderly conduct
- Public intoxication
- False identification
- Traffic rule violations
Crimes That Cannot Be Expunged or Sealed
Your criminal history cannot be expunged if you were found guilty of a crime, even if the conviction was outside of Florida. Most crimes that are not eligible for expunction tend to be sexual, violent and serious in nature. Some examples of those offenses are listed below:
- Assault and battery
- Drug trafficking
- Manslaughter or homicide
- Human trafficking
- Child abuse
A full list of ineligible offenses along with reasons for denying expungement or record sealing requests can be found on Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website.
How Do I Know If I Qualify For Record Expungement?
Misdemeanor offenses and crimes that do not fall under FDLE’s ineligible list may qualify for expungement or sealing in Florida if you meet the following criteria:
- You’ve never had a previous record sealed or expunged in Florida
- You’ve never been adjudicated guilty of any criminal offense
- You’re not currently under any type of court supervision, probation, house arrest or pretrial release
- You haven’t entered a guilty plea or no contest to a crime that is not eligible for sealing or expungement under Florida law.
How To Seal or Expunge Your Record in Florida
A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is required from the state. Obtaining this is a complicated legal process that requires each form to be completed and submitted properly or it will be denied even if you meet all eligibility requirements. You may attempt to file for expungement on your own or hire an attorney to represent you.
Having an attorney review your case may help ensure the best possible outcome as there are exceptions to the law and to the types of crimes that qualify for expunction or sealing services. For more information, please read “How To Expunge Your Record In Florida“.
Have Your Arrest Records Expunged in Florida
In the state of Florida, the Sunshine Law allows easy access to criminal records when running background checks. This is good news for the person requesting the check into your past. However, this is bad news if you have an arrest on your record. A mistake or poor decision can negatively affect your ability to get an apartment, a decent job and even a scholarship. Contact Frank Chavez Bail Bonds to see if you qualify for an expungement. We’ll guide you through the difficult process so you can get the fresh start you deserve.