Tampa Expungement Attorney
How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Florida
If you have been arrested for and convicted of criminal activity in the past, it is very likely that you are still feeling the weight of these matters. Some would go so far as to say that, although you may have served your time and paid your fines, that the aftermath is even worse to deal with because of the marks that are on your criminal record. In fact, many employers may have a big concern regarding ex-convicts. You could lose your job or find it extremely difficult to get a job that pays more than minimum wage.
Depending on the type of crime, however, there is a possibility that you may be able to have your record expunged at some point in your life. While your record will never be erased, having a criminal record expunged means that the public eye will no longer have access to your records when looking during an employment background check, for example.
In Florida, an "expungement" or "record sealing" allows you to have certain criminal records hidden or removed from your history. To learn more, call (813) 321-7323.
Qualifying for Expungement
Are you interested in getting your record expunged/sealed? First, you need to learn if you qualify to have your record expunged. If this sounds complex, that’s because it is.
There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration before a court will allow you to have your record concealed. First off, they will look at how long ago the crime was committed and your current criminal record with regards to how you have stayed clear of illegal activities during that time. Next, the court will also take into consideration the specific crime you were convicted of before they determine whether they will let you have your record cleared. For example, they will generally not allow for a sex offender to have his or her record expunged because the court deems them to be a threat in some way to society.
Fortunately, the Tampa expungement lawyers at Thomas & Paulk can help. It’s easy to get bogged down by the intricacies of the Florida legal system, but we have the experience and resources to take you through the process while protecting your rights and interests.
If the following apply to your case, you may qualify for expungement in Florida:
- In the case, there was no filing of an indictment, information, or charging document.
- If the indictment or charging document was filed, it was dismissed, and no charges led to a trial.
- The charge/case in question did not relate to certain criminal offenses, such as sexual misconduct, trafficking, or any offense that could qualify someone as a sexual predator.
- You have paid a $75 processing fee.
- You obtained and submitted a copy of your disposition.
- You have never, at any point before your filing, been adjudicated guilty of a felony or misdemeanor.
- You have never (or within the past 10 years) obtained an expunction.
- You are no longer under any court supervision.
Florida DUI Expungement
Being convicted of DUI can have serious repercussions, including jail time and large fines. However, the consequences of a DUI conviction can go beyond the time spent behind bars. Being charged with a DUI can affect a person’s ability to secure a job, get approval for a loan, or lease an apartment.
While it is not always possible to make your past “go away,” some people qualify for a DUI expungement.
A DUI expungement would mean civilian employers would not see your conviction on a background check. It would also entitle you to answer “no” if an employer asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. The only employers who could see your criminal record still would be law enforcement agencies and government entities. Although the government will still know that you once were convicted for DUI, it will be sealed to the public if the court approves the expungement.
To expunge your DUI record, the court will take into consideration how long ago you were convicted, and if you have been arrested or convicted of other offenses since then. Judges want to see that you are not having continuous problems with the law before they allow your records to be expunged.
The judge will also consider the severity of the crime for which you were convicted. For example, if you were simply pulled over for a DUI while running a stop sign, the judge may be more likely to give you the chance to have your record expunged. However, if your DUI caused a horrible accident that injured or took the life of another person, the likelihood of having your record expunged decreases significantly.
The judge will also consider the severity of other criminal arrests and convictions on your record. Even if these offenses were prior to the DUI, the court may not give you the chance to start over entirely. For example, the court does not expunge sex crimes from any record.
Ask an Expungement Lawyer at Our Tampa Firm
In the event you want to have your record expunged, please contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. today for insight from a trusted legal professional. We offer a free initial evaluation of your case and can draw upon experience representing thousands of clients over the past two decades. We can advise you on your legal rights and options. Should you retain our law firm, we can guide you through the record sealing process. We serve Tampa and all of Florida.
Are you looking to have your criminal record expunged or sealed?
All you need to do is give us a call at (813) 321-7323!
Who Is Record Sealing for?
Record sealing is for individuals who were charged but never adjudicated guilty. This means their charges were dropped or case was dismissed. Even when an individual's charges are dropped, their criminal record is still public.
Is There a Difference Between Sealing & Expunging Your Record?
The criteria and guidelines for sealing and different for expunging. § 943.0585 of the Florida Statutes lays out the rules for court-ordered expunction while § 943.059 of the Florida Statutes describes court-ordered sealing of criminal history records. The significant difference is that with sealing, the public no longer has access to your criminal records, but some governmental agencies still do. With an expungement, even governmental agencies would not have open access to your criminal record.
Can I Get My Records Sealed More Than Once?
No. One of the requirements for obtaining a record sealing or expungement is you have never previously obtained an expungement/sealing. You may be able to get multiple arrest records expunged, but only if the court believes they are related.
Criminal defense cases can be highly stressful and complicated. We discuss in this video what you may expect in your case as we fight for the best possible outcome.
You may know nothing about the criminal system and may be confused on what to do next. You need an attorney who can guide you through the entire process.
You won't be able to look into all the possibilities alone. We're well-versed in criminal law and can provide you with a strong strategy to turn the odds in your favor.
We've been working in the courts for a long time and have developed positive relationships with all the people you may face, which can help improve your chances.
Building a Case
Unlike a prosecutor, your criminal defense attorney can spend the time to build a strong case to help get your charges dismissed or your penalties reduced.