Expungements in Florida
Clearing Your Criminal Record
There are ways in which a person can have arrests and criminal charges removed from their criminal records if they meet certain eligibility requirements. The process of removing an arrest or criminal charges from a person’s record is referred to as “expungement” or “sealing.” Not everyone is eligible for expungement, but those who are should always consider working with an attorney so that their criminal records can be cleared. By petitioning for expungement, people can move forward with their lives and leave their mistakes in the past.
Before you can petition the court to seal or expunge a criminal record, it is required of the petitioner to obtain what is known as a Certificate of Eligibility through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). This is done through filling out Section A of the firm and signing before a notary public, being fingerprinted by either an authorized law enforcement personnel or a criminal justice agency, and providing a certified disposition of the case that the petitioner is looking to have sealed or expunged. It will also be required that the petitioner submit a fee of $75 which is nonrefundable. After this process has been completed and a certificate achieved, a petition may begin to the courts with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.
Benefits of Having a Criminal Record Expunged
After a person has been arrested for a crime, a record of their arrest will always exist, even if they were not formally charged with a criminal offense. The same holds true if a person was charged with a crime and their case was dismissed or they were found “not guilty.” All arrests and charges are noted on a person’s criminal record and will remain on their record indefinitely.
Many people are not aware of the consequences that are associated with having negative marks on their criminal records. Criminal records are accessible to the public, which means any person has access to another person’s arrest history and criminal background. This information is usually screened when a person applies for a job, housing, or even college, and can place limits on the person’s future quality of life.