What Charges Can or Cannot Be Expunged in Florida?
Sealing and expunging are legal mechanisms that prevent public access to a person’s criminal history. In 1995, Florida enacted its Sunshine Law, which grants public access to all non-sensitive government records. While the Sunshine Law benefits Florida residents looking to hold local government entities accountable, they present a roadblock for Florida residents with a criminal history. Specifically, if you were falsely accused of a crime or you made a one-time mistake, the Sunshine Law can have a big impact on your life, as any employer or other person can easily access your criminal history.
To counteract this disparity, Florida introduced laws enabling criminal records to be expunged or sealed. However, in order to get your criminal record removed, you must meet certain conditions. Here is some valuable information to know about getting your record expunged or sealed in Florida.
Getting Your Record Expunged
While expunging and sealing share the same purpose—to remove a criminal record from public access—there are a couple of notable differences between the two.
Expungement involves the destruction and deletion of all records belonging to a certain individual. While expunging a record will remove a record from public access, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will keep a copy of the record for limited use. However, if a record is expunged, other entities in the criminal justice system that normally have full access to criminal records will not have access to an expunged record.
Getting Your Record Sealed
When a record is sealed, it is not physically destroyed. Instead, it is placed under government protection, meaning the record is classified as confidential and is not accessible to the public. However, unlike an expunged record, in general, entities in the criminal justice system will still have access to a sealed record.
If you have been charged with a crime but not convicted, you may be able to have your record sealed or expunged. Since the process of having a record sealed or expunged is long and complicated, it is highly recommended that you consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
What Charges Can or Cannot Be Sealed or Expunged in Florida?
In Florida, to qualify for an expungement of your record, your case must have ended with one of the following results:
- The charges you were arrested for were dropped, dismissed, or acquitted by a jury or judge.
- You have never been convicted of a criminal offense in Florida.
- You have not had another arrest sealed or expunged.
- Any juvenile charges that resulted in a judge determining delinquency have been expunged.
To have your record sealed in Florida, your case must have ended with one of the following results:
- You entered a “guilty” or “no contest” plea
- The court withheld an adjudication of guilt
- The offenses you were found guilty of are not prohibited from being sealed
- You have never been convicted of a criminal offense in Florida
- You have not had another arrest sealed in Florida
- Any juvenile charges that resulted in a judge determining delinquency have been expunged
In addition to these conditions, there are certain charges that cannot be expunged or sealed, regardless of whether these terms are present. To best ensure you can have your record removed from public access, it is best to consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Whether you are a first-time offender or have been through the criminal justice system before, being charged with a crime in Florida can have a long-term impact on your life. If you are looking to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, the lawyers at the Umansky Law Firm are here to help.
Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping you navigate the expungement process. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team has the skills and expertise to fight for your second chance. To schedule a free consultation, call our office or complete an online contact form for a free consultation.