Can I Expunge My Record?
A criminal record can have lasting implications on your employment and housing opportunities. Because of this, individuals in Florida and around the country often wonder if there’s a way to clear their record and connect with a fresh start. In some cases there is, and the process is called expungement.
To understand the eligibility criteria, benefits, and limitations associated with expungement in the state of Florida, connect with a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer. A knowledgeable Florida criminal lawyer can assess your situation, guide you through the process, and help you make informed decisions.
Eligibility Criteria for Expungement
A legal process that involves the sealing or removal of criminal records from public view is referred to as expungement. When the process is successful, it means your criminal record will be erased or access to the information will be extremely limited. This means you can enjoy many life interactions as if the incident never occurred.
Rules vary from state to state and not all offenses are eligible for expungement. In Florida and other states, it is common for less severe offenses to be considered for expungement while more serious crimes, such as violent felonies, are excluded. The following criteria must be met to be considered for expungement.
- There was no conviction. You must not have been convicted of the crime you want to expunge, meaning that the charges against you were dismissed, dropped, or through the court process you were acquitted.
- No prior sealing. Florida law permits only one expungement or sealing of criminal records per person. So, if you’ve previously had a record sealed, it is likely you will be denied eligibility for another.
- Waiting period. It is common for there to be a waiting period before you can apply for expungement. The period of time will depend on the offense and could range from a few years to several years. Generally the timing starts once the case has been resolved.
- Completion of sentences. If there was a sentence, you must have completed all the terms and conditions before you will be eligible to apply for expungement. For example, if applicable, you will need to complete your probationary period and pay your fines.
While there are steps and deadlines that must be followed, the process is often worth the time and effort in order to access the benefits of expungement
Reasons to Explore the Process
With a clean record you may have a better chance of securing employment, because many employers conduct background checks before hiring, and expungement could increase your chances of finding housing because landlords often consider criminal records when renting out properties.
If you want to expunge your record, consult with a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer. A clean slate could be in reach with the right legal guidance.
Has your criminal record complicated your life? Expungement may offer you a new beginning, but eligibility criteria, waiting periods, and other factors make the process complex. Discuss your case with the legal team at King Law Group. Schedule your free consultation today.