A criminal record can impact your life even if you were arrested when you were still a juvenile or a young adult. The consequences of having an arrest on your record can alter the course of your future. People who have a criminal record are often passed over for employment, denied leases for apartments, rejected from colleges and universities, and they are also unable to benefit from government assistance programs. Expungement is one way that you can help cover your mistakes of the past and ensure that you are able to have the future you deserve.
Everyone makes mistakes. If you make a mistake and you’re arrested for a crime and don’t commit any other crimes, you may not have to pay for that mistake for the rest of your life. You may be able to have your arrest or conviction expunged so that it doesn’t continue to affect your future by making it more difficult to find a good job or live in a nice neighborhood.
In some cases, people who have a criminal record may have an arrest or conviction of a crime expunged, or removed from their criminal record. Having an arrest or conviction expunged doesn’t erase it, but it does mean that people won’t be able to see what you were arrested or convicted of. In essence it will be as if the incident never happened. It would be removed or hidden on the public databases of the court, law enforcement, the Clerk of Court, and the Office of the State Attorney.
Each state has its own rules about expungements. In Florida the regulations regarding expungement of very specific. If you want to have a record expunged it’s a good idea to work with an experienced Florida criminal attorney that can help you with the application process.
Why Get An Arrest Expunged?
Getting something expunged can take a bit of a time and money but it’s worth the hassle. In Florida as soon as you are arrested for a crime you have a criminal record. If that arrest is your only arrest getting it expunged can change your life. Having a clean record to help you get a good job, find good housing, and achieve other milestones. Florida’s current system makes it easy for anyone to look up public arrests and convictions, which means that almost anyone can find your arrest with a simple search. An expungement will clear your public record and give you a fresh start.
Getting an arrest or a conviction expunged won’t get rid of it completely, however. Depending on the offense, your arrest or conviction may still be available to law enforcement or others who have been cleared to see your full record and not just the expunged version. But it does mean that employers, landlords, and others won’t see the arrest or conviction if they do a criminal background check of the public databases.
Eligibility For Expungement
Before you can apply to have an arrest or conviction expunged you need to see if you are eligible for an expungement. There are a lot of requirements that you must meet in Florida in order to be eligible for expungement. First, you need to apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a Certificate of Eligibility.
You can find the form that you need to submit your application on the FDLE website. It’s not required that you have an attorney help you fill out this form, but it’s strongly recommended. If there are any errors in the form, you will need to start the application process all over again. Working with an experienced criminal attorney can help you avoid that.
Just submitting the application for the Certificate of Eligibility doesn’t mean that you will be granted an expungement. The court that has jurisdiction will decide if you are eligible to have something expunged. If you have been convicted and adjudicated guilty, you will not be able to get an expungement. There are some other circumstances that also preclude you from getting an expungement and there is a list of crimes that you may not get an expungement for once they have been adjudicated.
Your criminal attorney can advise you whether or not you are likely to be granted an Certificate of Eligibility for an expungement.
It’s a good idea to get a copy of your personal criminal history before you apply for an expungement. You have the right to a copy of your record for personal review. Go through everything that is on your record and challenge anything that you find to be inaccurate. You may be able to get some items removed before you ask for the expungement if they are not accurate.
After getting a Certificate of Eligibility you will need to petition the court for an expungement for one of the arrests or convictions on your record. If you are arrested on two or more related charges you may only ask to expunge both. It will be up to a Florida judge to decide whether or not you will be granted an expungement. It will increase your chances of having the expungement granted to have an experienced Florida criminal attorney on your side who can help explain what happened to the judge and demonstrate how you have changed. An expungement is a legal matter so you really need a legal expert on your team fighting your case to the judge.
If you want to know if you’re eligible to have a criminal arrest or conviction expunged call today to talk with a Florida criminal attorney who knows the laws regarding expungement in Florida and can help you file for one if you meet Florida’s statutory requirements.