Getting A Criminal Record Expunged In Florida
Bending the rules might seem like the usual way of doing things in Florida. People obey and disobey traffic laws on a whim, and the lines between the definitions of a pet, a zoo animal, or a wild beast or reptile that might show up in your backyard at any time are notoriously blurry. Floridians pretended that weed was legal for decades before cannabis laws began to change in our favor. Appearances can be deceiving, though. Once you read the legal code, you find out that there are almost no second chances in Florida after you have a run-in with the law. Most arrests stay on your criminal record permanently, even if you were never convicted. Florida law allows you to expunge one record from your criminal history, making it so that the expunged record does not show up on the background checks associated with applications for employment or housing. To find out more about expungement of criminal records, contact a Tampa criminal lawyer.
Which Criminal Records Are Eligible for Expungement?
Florida law allows each person to expunge one criminal record in a lifetime. Arrest records are eligible for expungement, as are some misdemeanor convictions, such as drug possession. Felony convictions are not eligible for expungement. The only conditions where you might be eligible to expunge more than one record are if, after your arrest, the court determined that you were a victim of violence and were acting in self-defense or that you were a victim of human trafficking and acted out of coercion.
Juvenile records eventually disappear from your record on their own, whether or not you were adjudicated delinquent, which is the juvenile justice system’s equivalent of the court finding a defendant guilty. The exact amount of time it takes for a juvenile record to disappear depends on the nature of the alleged offense and the outcome of the case, but by the time you are in your late 20s, no records of your interactions with the juvenile justice system will remain visible on background checks.
Expunging an Arrest or Conviction From Your Record
It is in your interest to expunge an arrest or conviction from your record if you are able, so that you do not have to keep explaining a long ago mistake or misunderstanding to prospective employers and landlords. The expungement process begins with verifying your eligibility and filing forms with the court and ends with a hearing where the judge decides whether to grant your request for expungement. You have the right to petition the court to expunge a criminal record with or without hiring a lawyer, but working with a lawyer improves your chances for success.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
Getting your charges dropped is preferable to getting a conviction, but it still looks bad on background checks. A criminal defense lawyer can help you complete the process of expunging a record from your criminal history. Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.