Even after you’ve paid all the fines and served your sentence, criminal charges can leave a lasting stain on your reputation. A mistake or poor choice made many years in the past can affect your ability to get a job, enroll in college, or even begin relationships. If your life has been negatively impacted by your criminal record, you may be a candidate to have your criminal record sealed or expunged.
The Expungement and Sealing Process in Florida
Expungement and record sealing is the process of concealing or removing a criminal record from public view. Once your records have been sealed or expunged, only law enforcement agencies can see them when requested. Whether you qualify to have your records sealed or expunged depends on the offense and the charges that were levied against you. Certain types of offenses are not eligible for expungement or sealing, so you will need to consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. To qualify, you also cannot be on probation or community control, all punishments must be completed.
To seal or expunge your record, you must meet the following requirements set forth in section 43.059 of Florida Statutes, Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records:
The court shall not order a criminal justice agency to seal a criminal history record until the person seeking to seal a criminal history record has applied for and received a certificate of eligibility for sealing pursuant to subsection (2). A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, former s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be sealed, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing the offense as a delinquent act. The court may only order sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity, except as provided in this section. The court may, at its sole discretion, order the sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. If the court intends to order the sealing of records pertaining to such additional arrests, such intent must be specified in the order. A criminal justice agency may not seal any record pertaining to such additional arrests if the order to seal does not articulate the intention of the court to seal records pertaining to more than one arrest. This section does not prevent the court from ordering the sealing of only a portion of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity.
You will not qualify for sealing or expungement if you have been convicted of any of the disqualifying offenses outline in Florida Statute Sections 943.0585 and 943.059 or any of the following misdemeanors:
Battery, as defined in s. 784.03;
Assault on a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or other specified officers, as defined in s. 784.07(2)(a);
Carrying a concealed weapon, as defined in s. 790.01(1);
Open carrying of a weapon, as defined in s. 790.053;
Unlawful possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property, as defined in s. 790.115;
Unlawful use of destructive devices or bombs, as defined in s. 790.1615(1);
Unlawful possession of a firearm, as defined in s. 790.22(5);
Exposure of sexual organs, as defined in s. 800.03;
Petit theft, as defined in s. 812.014(3);
Neglect of a child, as defined in s. 827.03(1)(e); or
Cruelty to animals, as defined in s. 828.12(1).
Dedicated Legal Representation When it Matters
The attorneys from Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., have experience working on expungement and sealing cases. Don’t wait to secure legal representation. We can review your case and answer any questions you may have about expungement and sealing of your criminal record. Call us at (727) 245-9009 or reach out to us online right now. Our Clearwater attorneys offer free consultations.