New Florida Statute of Expungement of Lawful Self-Defense
The laws in Florida are among the strongest in the country in allowing people to claim self-defense if they inflict harm on another person. Although the law allows you to raise this defense in court, it might not prevent an arrest or subsequent criminal prosecution. This means that an official criminal record may still state that an arrest occurred or that a case moved forward in criminal court. The resulting marks can appear on background checks or other important requests for information about you.
As a result, many people wish to obtain an expungement of their criminal record related to an incident of self-defense. A new Florida statute of expungement for lawful self-defense outlines the exact situations where this is appropriate and the specific procedures that you must follow to obtain this relief. Talking with a criminal expungement attorney could help you better understand when this is possible and obtain the fresh start that you deserve.
When a Lawful Self-Defense Expungement May Apply
Recent changes to state law now allow people who use lawful self-defense to apply for an expungement of their criminal record relating to this event. According to Florida Statute § 943.0578, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices must issue a certificate of eligibility for expungement for all people who qualify for the self-defense expungement program.
This option is available only when a law enforcement department or prosecutor issues a statement saying that the event involved a genuine use of self-defense. This typically comes about when another person was the instigator of an attack or there was a genuine fear of harm to a victim or their family. Furthermore, there is no duty to retreat in Florida. Talking with an attorney could help people better understand the concept of self-defense under state law.
Assisting Those Seeking an Expungement
While the law says that individuals have every right to pursue an expungement based upon self-defense on their own, it is always advisable to seek out an attorney’s help. The process for requesting this expungement, as described by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, requires people to obtain specific information and submit clear and comprehensive petitions to the relevant agencies.
The formal application must include precise information about the arrest and any resulting charges. It must also contain a certification from a Notary Public or a Deputy Clerk of the Court.
Attached to this application must be the certified statement page from the prosecutor’s office. An application must also include a certified disposition from the criminal court that handled the case. This includes data concerning any pre-trial diversion programs or time spent on probation. Finally, all applicants must submit to fingerprinting as a way to verify their identity. Allowing an attorney to take the lead in obtaining and submitting this information can allow you to get a better understanding of your rights and be assured that your petition is in good hands.
A Lawyer is Ready to Pursue an Expungement Under Florida’s New Self-Defense Laws
People who act in self-defense to protect themselves and their families from others should not face criminal prosecution for their actions. However, all too often, an arrest and criminal charges remain on their records even if the case ends without a conviction. This can have a damaging effect on employment opportunities and other background checks.
State law allows for an expungement of a criminal record related to an incident of self-defense when the case ends without the filing of criminal charges, a prosecutor later drops a case, or when a verdict results in an acquittal. The Umansky Law Firm is ready to provide more information about this law, determine if it applies to you, and form applications that demand the cleansing of your criminal record.