Criminal records can follow you around for the rest of your life—and the dire consequences can impact the quality of your life. Regardless of when you were arrested or convicted in your life, that single record can make it next to impossible to secure a job, join the military or even qualify purchasing a primary residence or rental. Florida state laws do allow you to expunge your record, but there are some strict requirements that you must know about beforehand.
What is Expungement?
Expungement seals your arrest and conviction records. While it is “expunged” it cannot be disclosed, but that does not necessarily mean it is permanently erased from your record. Once expunged, however, your criminal background will not be disclosed to future employers, landlords, or even the military. Also, you can legally answer “no” to any questions related to recent arrests or convictions on applications.
Do You Qualify for an Expungement?
The state of Florida has strict requirements for expungement, because expunging a record does offer a person a fresh start. Florida law prohibits anyone who was convicted of a crime to expunge their record—this includes misdemeanor offenses.
If, however, you were charged with a crime and then the charges were dismissed or the state dropped their case (for whatever reason), you can request your records to be expunged.
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You can begin the process of expungement immediately after your case is dismissed by the courts. If you were tried and found not guilty, you cannot expunge the records, but you can apply to have them sealed. Also, the same goes for plea bargains.
If formal charges were brought against you and the case was resolved using a plea bargain, you can apply to have the records sealed, but you will have to wait to apply for the expungement.
Can You Just Fill Out a Form and Apply?
While you could fill out a form and apply for an expungement, it is in your best interests to hire a criminal attorney. An attorney can assess the details of your case and let you know right away if you qualify for expungement. Also, an attorney can help represent your claim while pursuing an expungement.
If you are ready to expunge your record and get on with your life, contact Paul J. Donnelly, P.A. today. Our team of Miami criminal attorneys has handled hundreds of expungement cases and we are more than happy to meet with you to discuss your case. Call for a no obligation consultation by dialing 305-757-3331 now.