Orange County Expungement Lawyer

Everyone makes mistakes and we have all done things we would not want others to know about. Unfortunately, if one of those mistakes led to an arrest, anyone searching your background might be able to find out about it.

Expungement is the term for cleaning arrests and some convictions off your public record. If your record is expunged, your arrest or conviction will not appear if someone runs a criminal background check on you.

Consult a trustworthy defense attorney if you are concerned that your record might impact your opportunities for housing, employment, or education. An Orange County expungement lawyer could explain the process and guide you through it if you are eligible for expungement in Florida.

Which Records Can Be Expunged?

When a criminal record is expunged, it is effectively destroyed, except that the Department of Law Enforcement keeps one copy. A person whose record has been expunged can truthfully answer “no” when asked whether they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Sometimes records are not expunged but they are sealed, meaning no one has access to them without a court order.

Arrests can be expunged if the prosecutor opted not to pursue a charge or the accused was not convicted. Most misdemeanor convictions can be expunged, but felony convictions or guilty pleas must remain on an offender’s record. A conviction or guilty plea to a traffic crime, such as DUI, cannot be expunged.

An Orange County attorney knows the rules for expungement and could advise a person about the best way to go about clearing their record.

Process for Obtaining an Expungement

The person requesting an expungement must be eligible. Someone can request expungement only once—if they have had a record expunged in the past, they cannot obtain another expungement. They cannot have an expungement in Florida if they have had a criminal record expunged in another state. A person is ineligible for expungement if there are criminal charges pending against them.

The expungement process is complex and involves multiple steps. First, the person seeking expungement must get a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Law Enforcement. The application must include a statement from the prosecutor stating that the crime for which the applicant was arrested or convicted is eligible for expungement. If there was a conviction, the applicant also must submit proof that they have completed their sentence. Once they have their Certificate of Eligibility, they must submit a petition requesting expungement to the court.

An Orange County criminal record expungement attorney could manage these steps for an applicant to ensure the paperwork is accurate and complete. Although a hearing on an expungement application is usually not necessary, if the applicant or the judge requests a hearing, a legal representative could make a persuasive case on the applicant’s behalf.

Some Entities Can View an Expunged Record

Expungement destroys a criminal record and sealing keeps it hidden from most people who request a background check. However, the records remain available for disclosure in some cases.

According to Florida Statute § 943.0585, the records of prior arrests and convictions are available to law enforcement and prosecutors if the person faces criminal charges again. The record is also available if the person seeks employment with a state agency and their job would involve contact with children or vulnerable adults. If the person applies to work for a law enforcement agency, or as a teacher, or seeks admission to the Florida Bar, their records will be available despite being expunged.

A person’s full criminal record is also available if they buy a firearm from a licensed dealer or applies to carry a concealed weapon. An Orange County attorney could explain the limits of sealing and expungement, and help a person navigate situations in which their record might be disclosed.

Clean Your Criminal Record With an Orange County Expungement Attorney

An arrest or conviction on your record can limit your opportunities for employment, housing, education, and restrict how you participate in your community. Expungement offers an opportunity to start fresh.

Place a phone call to an Orange County expungement lawyer to discuss the steps you can take to clear your record.

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    Orange County Expungement Lawyer