Expungement Of Criminal Convictions In Florida
You made a mistake as a teenager that you paid for dearly. You spent a year in jail, paid fines, attended drug and alcohol abuse education courses and participated in more than 100 hours of community service. Since then you have not gotten so much as a parking ticket, yet your criminal record is preventing you from obtaining a good job with mobility and opportunities for your family. It does not seem fair that one occurrence years ago has marred your reputation. Do you qualify for expungement?
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the removal of a criminal record from all public and law enforcement databases via the applicant’s request. Contrary to popular belief, a defendant’s criminal record is not automatically erased or removed from searches after they are released from sentencing. In addition, even if a defendant is later found not guilty or pleads nolo contendere or probation before judgment, a record of their charges remains on public and law enforcement databases. If the defendant desires to have the record expunged, they must file with the court of jurisdiction. Filing requires the completion of paperwork in addition to payment of fees. If an applicant was charged with multiple offenses, they would need to file multiple motions to expunge each record.
What Crimes can be Expunged?
In Florida, many criminal records are eligible to be expunged after five years if the crime committed was classified as a misdemeanor. The applicant must file sealing paperwork and wait approximately 12 weeks for a response In some cases, the applicant may need to wait 10 years after sentencing or release to apply for expungement. The applicant must also provide proof that it is their first attempt to expunge the record and contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to certify eligibility.
Many felonies cannot be expunged. Sealing the record means the applicant’s criminal record is not visible to the general public or on a public database. By contrast, expunging the record purges it permanently from all databases including law enforcement databases. Some applicants might want to consider sealing their record to provide some sense of privacy and limit discrimination regarding job applications. Any life felony or first, second or third degree felonies like murder, assault, batter or arson cannot be expunged no matter how much time has passed.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
If you or a loved one were convicted of a crime that you now wish to expunge from public record, you may have options to do so. Expungement procedural rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is important you consult an attorney to determine what is required of you. Tampa criminal attorney Bryant Scriven is an experienced litigator and former prosecutor who understands the impact a criminal record can have on a person’s life long after release. He can help you get criminal records expunged and start a new chapter. Call today to schedule a consultation.