Expunction of a Criminal Record

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Fla. Stat. 943.0585 lays out the requirements for a person to expunge their criminal history. It’s a relatively simple procedure and all the necessary forms are located at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Seal-and-Expunge-Process/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx or, for Hillsborough County specific documents, at https://www.hillsclerk.com/Court-Services/Expungement-and-Sealing. With that said, board certified criminal trial law attorney Adam Bantner can certainly help you through the process if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself or if you simply prefer to make certain that it is done correctly.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to expunge an arrest/criminal history, there are not many requirements. They are:

  • Charges were never filed on the arrest, or
  • Charges were dismissed by the prosecutor, the judge, or the jury, or
  • The criminal history was sealed for over 10 years, and
  • The person seeking the expunction has never been adjudicated guilty of any offense, and
  • The person seeking the expunction is no longer on probation, and
  • The person seeking the expunction has not obtained a prior sealing or expunction, unless the expunction is being sought for the criminal history that has been sealed for 10 years or more.

That’s it. If you meet those basic requirements you can move forward with the next steps in the process.

 

The Process

The first step in the process is to gather and complete the paperwork. You will need the following documents:

  • Completed Application for Certificate of Eligibility. It must be completed by the applicant and by a representative of the relevant Office of the State Attorney
  • Certified copy of the disposition of the criminal history sought to be expunged. This is obtained from the Clerk of Court in the county in which the arrest occurred.
  • This can be done at any local sheriff’s station.
  • Money order payable to Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the amount of $75.00.

Once these items are obtained and completed, the entire packet is sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They will review the packet and issue a Certificate of Eligibility if it meets the basic requirements of law. This is the slowest part of the process and typically takes between 4 to 8 months. Once issued, the Certificate is valid for 12 months.

Assuming that the Certificate of Eligibility was issued and is received, the next step is to file the Petition for Expunction with the Clerk. As of now, the Clerk will need the original Petition with the original Certificate of Eligibility and an Affidavit by the Petitioner that he or she meets the eligibility requirements for an expunction. Along with the Petition, it is good practice to send copies of the proposed order granting the Petition for the court to sign upon granting the motion. Typically, there will be minimal court costs that will have to be paid before the court will grant the Petition.

Lastly, some jurisdictions require a hearing on any Petition to Expunge. Others, like Hillsborough County, do not require a hearing. In Hillsborough, a judge will simply sign the Order Granting the Petition if it meets all the requirements of law and all outstanding court costs have been paid. In other counties, such as Pasco County, they will require a hearing on the Petition. At this hearing, the Court should grant the Petition unless the State has presented evidence that warrants not granting an expunction. VFD v. State, 19 So.3d 1172 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009).

Effect of Expunction

Once an Order Expunging the Criminal History has been signed, the person subject to the criminal history can legally deny having ever been arrested for that offense. It will not subject the person to perjury. However, there are certain instances where a person will still be required to disclose the arrest. The most common instances are if the person is a candidate to work in law enforcement, a candidate for the Florida Bar, or is employed or seeking employment with State agencies such as Department of Family and Children, Department of Education, Department of Juvenile Justice, and others.

Finally, the expunction order does not apply to private background check companies. As such, just because a matter has been expunged, does not mean that the arrest will never show up in a records check. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep copies of the Order handy so that they can be sent to individual background check companies. Sometimes, they will remove the arrest from their records even though they are not required to do so.

You Want Help with Your Expunction

Attorney Adam Bantner has helped many people through the process. If you want to set up your free consultation, give him a call today at 813.397.3965. He will perform an initial screen to see if you are eligible and then get you started with the necessary paperwork. We are here to help in Hillsborough and surrounding counties.

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Adam Bantner – Criminal Defense Attorney at Law

If you are in need of an expert criminal defense attorney specializing in legal defense against DUI, traffic, criminal, violent crime charges, or a personal injury – you’ll find it here.

Adam L. Bantner, II is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney representing those accused of crimes in Hillsborough and Polk counties. He is the Past President of the Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys., is a Super Lawyers Rising Star, and AVVO rated “Superb.” Adam is a member of Valrico Law Group.

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Adam Bantner, II is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Attorney representing those accused of crimes in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. When you are facing criminal charges, you want an expert in your corner. The Florida Bar has recognized Adam as an expert criminal defense attorney.

I have been defending the accused since 2006 and am Past President of the Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

I have tried over 30 jury trials, on charges ranging from driving on a suspended license to murder.

In addition, I am a Brandon personal injury attorney. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, give me a call to see how we can help!

I approach each case on the principle that every client deserves zealous representation, with attention to detail and to their individualized needs. My mission is to get the best possible result for every client, in every case, every time. Give me a call to see how I can assist you to get the best results in your case. I are here to help.