If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a serious crime, you are probably worried that your criminal record may have devastating consequences on your personal or professional life. Luckily, Florida allows qualifying individuals to have their criminal records expunged or sealed.
To qualify to have your criminal record sealed or expunged, your case must have been dropped, dismissed or “no-billed,” where no information has been officially filed. In addition, if your case resulted in a withholding of official judgment, you may be eligible to have your record sealed. Most importantly, keep in mind that, if you have been formally convicted of a crime or if you have already had a case sealed or expunged, your current record cannot be expunged.
If you have determined that you do qualify to have your record expunged, follow these steps:
- Proceed to fill out and file a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Seal/Expunge packet, which can be downloaded online.
- You must also obtain a copy of the disposition of your case from the Criminal Court Clerk’s office.
- Next, visit your local police department to have your fingerprints applied to the fingerprint form included in your packet before sending in your forms.
- If your application is deemed successful, you are sent a Certificate of Eligibility from the FDLE, which enables you to access the next set of forms needed to go through the sealing or expungement process. The forms must then be filed with the Clerk’s office.
The process of determining eligibility and applying for record expungement can be complex and attempting to handle it alone may result in longer wait times and unnecessary expenses. Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney in Inverness to get the helpful guidance you need.