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Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record in FL

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How Can I Get My Record Expunged in Florida?

If you are arrested for a crime in the state of Florida, you automatically have a criminal record—even if you were never actually charged or convicted. This criminal record is public, meaning it is available to any potential employer, landlord, or anyone with access to a computer and the internet.

Having a criminal record presents many problems, including difficulties obtaining or keeping a job, renting an apartment or securing a home loan, attending university, and more. What’s more, you are required by law to disclose your criminal record in certain professional situations. In many cases, record sealing or expungement provides a remedy to these situations.

To have your record sealed or expunged, you must meet very specific, strict criteria. To learn more, contact First Coast Criminal Defense by calling (904) 474-3115 for a complimentary case evaluation with our Jacksonville expungement attorneys. 

What Is the Difference Between Record Sealing & Expungement?

The state of Florida offers two possible processes for those who wish to make their criminal record inaccessible to the public:

  • Sealing your record means that only certain entities, such as law enforcement and the courts, will be able to see your criminal record, rather than the general public.
  • Expunging your record, on the other hand, involves the physical destroying of your record with only one confidential copy being kept, accessible only by court order.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Expunge Record in FL?

It is not mandatory to hire a lawyer to expunge a record in Florida, but would be highly recommended. The Florida expungement process can be complex and having an experienced expungement attorney in Florida can increase your chances of success. Several reasons why having a lawyer on your side for a Florida expungement include: 

  • Legal Knowledge: Having an attorney who specializes in Florida expungement law and an understanding of the requirements, procedures, and deadlines involved is crucial.
  • Eligibility Assessment: Determining whether you are eligible for expungement can be challenging, as it depends on various factors such as the type of offense, waiting periods, and your criminal history.
  • Increased Success Rate: Lawyers who handle expungement cases regularly have experience navigating the legal system, negotiating with prosecutors, and presenting strong arguments to the court.
  • Procedural Compliance: An attorney can ensure that all required documents are prepared accurately and submitted within the specified timeframe, reducing the chances of errors.
  • Record Evaluation: An attorney can review your criminal record for any errors or inaccuracies that may hinder your expungement process.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that a legal professional is handling your case can provide peace of mind as they answer your questions and address any concerns throughout the process.

It is possible to go through this process on your own; however, a expungement lawyer in Florida can provide personalized guidance and increase your chances of achieving a successful expungement.

Florida Expungement Eligibility

There are slightly fewer criteria to have your record sealed than expunged. You may be eligible for criminal record sealing in Florida if you were not actually convicted of a crime or if adjudication of guilt was withheld in your case (in other words, you were put on probation but not found guilty by the court). Additionally, you cannot have any prior records sealed or expunged, and you cannot have any existing records that related to certain serious offenses, such as homicide, rape, kidnapping, or arson.

In contrast, in order to have your criminal record expunged, you must meet the following criteria:

  • No charges were filed against you; or
  • Your charges were dismissed; or
  • Your criminal record has been sealed for at least 10 years; and
  • You do not have a record related to any of the crimes that are not permitted to be expunged under Florida state law (typically, these are violent and/or serious crimes, although some are offenses that can be sealed).

Call First Coast Criminal Defense at (904) 474-3115 today to request a complimentary case evaluation with our Florida expungement lawyers today!

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"I have had the pleasure of working with First Coast Criminal Defense, and it was a wonderful experience, I would highly recommend this Firm. They are totally responsive and will walk you through each phase step by step!"

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