A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. It can make it difficult to find a job, obtain housing or even advance in your present career. Luckily, Florida law allows a person to expunge their criminal arrest record as long as it meets the necessary requirements.
Why Expunge? How it Can Help You
You do not have to be a first time offender to qualify for an expungement, but you cannot be convicted of any criminal acts in the past. Also, realize that in Florida being found “guilty” does not mean you were convicted; therefore, even with a guilty verdict you may qualify for an expungement.
If you are granted an expungement, you will get:
- Your criminal record removed from the clerk’s office, local enforcement agency databases, and even the State Attorney’s Office.
- Your record removed from Public Records, which means if a background check was performed, no one would find history of criminal activity under your name.
- A chance to lawfully deny that you were found guilty or even arrested for a crime.
What Can Be Expunged?
Not all crimes can be expunged from a person’s record. But, there are some things that will qualify and can hopefully provide you with a clean slate. Some things you can expunge include:
- Criminal Arrest Records – If you have been arrested, those records are a matter of public record. If you expunge them, however, any prior arrests will be unavailable.
- Mistaken Arrests – If you were arrested and the case with adjudicated or it was dropped, that is not a mistaken arrest. A mistaken arrest occurs when the police arrest you for a warrant with a person that has the same name, but that warrant was not meant for you. In this instance, the police mistakenly arrested you for someone else’s crimes; therefore, you can expunge that record.
- Juvenile Offenses – Sometimes a juvenile offense can be expunged as long as the crime was for a non-violent offense and you have completed your necessary diversion program.
What Happens When a Record is Expunged?
A previous arrest can hinder your chances for being approved for loans, housing, and even employment. It is embarrassing and can follow you the rest of your life until it is removed.
Once you expunge a criminal record or arrest, no one can see it. Background checks will not find arrest records and you will no longer be denied jobs, housing or even loans because of a criminal past.
It is best to hire an attorney experienced in Florida expungement laws. Call us at Law Offices of Paul J. Donnelly, P.A. specializes in expungement and record sealing. We can help you get your life back, clean up your record, and get a fresh start for 2015. Call today for a consultation at 305-757-3331.