Fort Lauderdale Expungement Lawyers
Clear Your Name with Experienced Legal Service
Everyone makes mistakes throughout the course of their lives. In the state of Florida, the law acknowledges the reality that a temporary error in decision-making that resulted in a criminal offense should not inevitably become a blemish on your good character and reputation for the rest of your life. Ordinarily, the law in Florida asserts that for some eligible crimes, a person might qualify to get their criminal record expunged or sealed. Florida law also dictates that a person’s criminal record has to be clear of any previous convictions if they wish to be considered eligible. A person is able to reap the benefit of having their criminal record expunged or sealed one time and one time only.
Musca Law is a Florida law firm comprised of experienced criminal defense attorneys who are giving dependable and effective legal representation to everyone who is seeking to expunge or seal their record of criminal offenses in Fort Lauderdale. If you are interested in talking to a professional about the expungement or sealing process of your criminal record, then please reach out to our Fort Lauderdale office at (954) 302-5391 to speak with an experienced representative.
Record-Sealing vs Expungement
When someone’s criminal record is sealed, the overall public will be unable to obtain any of the information contained within the record. There are, however, very special exemptions to this basic guideline. For instance, as a Fort Lauderdale attorney who specializes in record sealing will be able to tell you, there are specific organizations that will still be able to obtain your sealed criminal record.
The aforementioned entities are listed below:
- If you are looking for a job with any criminal justice bureau
- If you become the focus of any later felonious prosecution
- If you are trying to get a license from the Florida Bar Association that will allow you to practice law in Florida
- If you are looking for a job to contract with or be licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children and Families, or the Agency for Persons with Disabilities
- If you are attempting to be employed with or licensed by the Department of Education, specific kinds of public schools, any private school or a childcare facility
- If you are looking for a job with or seeking access to any Florida seaport
- If you are attempting to buy a gun
When a person’s record gets Expunged, the organizations that we just listed will also be unable to obtain a copy of your original criminal record. They will, however, be notified that your record does exist but has since been expunged. Any requests for access to your record will be denied.
In terms of both expunging and sealing a criminal record, if you are not engaged in any dealings with any of the listed organizations or situations, you are allowed to fail to recognize the matters contained within expunged or sealed record and legally deny its existence. To put it another way, it will be as if your criminal record was magically restored to what it was prior to the legal infraction ever having taken place.
The Process of Expungement
The path to an expunged or sealed criminal record is usually a long and arduous one. It demands communication with the court, the Florida State Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and then we circle back to the courts once more for a request or appeal to expunge or seal your criminal record.
Our Fort Lauderdale expungement and record sealing lawyers will search for methods that we can use to get rid of the record of your criminal charges. Our qualified attorneys are in court regularly and are prepared to help lead you through this process.
Getting in Touch With a Fort Lauderdale Expungement Attorney
If you want to retain an attorney for any case associated with expungement or record sealing, then please reach out to our Fort Lauderdale expungement attorneys at the Florida offices of Musca Law criminal defense attorneys promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (954) 302-5391 today.
Listed below are a few of the most frequently asked questions in Fort Lauderdale concerning record sealing and record expungement, and the actions that a seasoned Fort Lauderdale expungement attorney will be able to handle in order to help you. If you would like more detailed information concerning your specific case, then call us to schedule an appointment today.
What Do I Need to do to Get my Criminal Record Expunged or Sealed?
Florida statutes lay out the guidelines that have to be satisfied in order to qualify to have your criminal record expunged or sealed. Along with the guidelines, these laws also say that in order to be granted the expungement or sealing of your criminal record in the state of Florida, you have to first fill out an application with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility. Be advised that just because you are issued a Certificate of Eligibility that does not necessarily mean that your request to have your criminal record expunged or sealed will be granted. It simply means that you are legally qualified for the kind of support for which you have applied.
The Charges Against Me Were Dropped so Why do I Have a Criminal Record?
The Florida Legislature has decided that all criminal history records are open and available to the general public except those records that have been expunged or sealed. A criminal record is generated anytime someone is arrested and fingerprinted. It will cover the nature of that particular arrest, whether you were granted an acquittal, a conviction, or a dismissal of your charges prior to your trial or some other arrangement.
Is There Really a Difference Between Record Expungement and Record Sealing?
When a criminal record becomes sealed, the general public will be unable to access it. Some government or similar organizations are allowed access to entire criminal records, even those that have been sealed.
When a criminal record is expunged, those organizations that would normally be granted access to your sealed criminal record will instead be notified that the subject of the criminal record has been granted a record expungement, but they will not be able to obtain access to the actual record without first getting a court order. These organizations will now only be given a caveat statement declaring that “Criminal Information has been expunged from this record.“
How Long Before my Criminal Record is Expunged or Sealed?
After the order is given by the court with the appropriate jurisdiction to expunge or seal your criminal record and a verified copy of the order has been obtained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, it will then be followed through with commensurate with state laws. In the event that the order is not in agreement with relevant laws, however, it will be sent back to the State Attorney’s office where it will then be put aside by the court. Your expungement criminal defense attorney and you will both be furnished with a report of this activity if and when it should take place.
Can I Have Multiple Dates of Arrest Expunged or Sealed?
The guidelines of eligibility for a person applying to have their criminal record expunged or sealed incorporate the condition that the person applying is able to swear that she or he has never before had a criminal record expunged or sealed in the state of Florida or in any other jurisdiction. Essentially what this means is that an individual is only allowed to expunge or seal one arrest record with one application. Additional arrest records can be expunged or sealed with the same petition only if the court, in its own opinion, deems that the arrests were immediately connected to one another.
I Received a Withhold of Adjudication, Can I Still Have my Charges Expunged or Sealed?
A listing of all of the charges that are not allowed to be sealed in the event that adjudication is withheld will be sent along with your application package. This listing is also available in Florida Statute s. 943.059. Additionally, if the applicant has received an adjudication of guilt in the matter of any crime in any jurisdiction, whether or not it is at all connected to the charge for which the application was filed, the criminal record will be deemed ineligible for expungement or sealing and the person’s application will be turned down by the court.
What Charges Are Able to be Expunged?
The exact same qualifications and requirements that pertain to sealing your criminal record will also pertain to having your criminal record expunged, along with a few special extra conditions. Any criminal offense, for which was granted a withholding of adjudication or an acquittal following the trial, is not able to be expunged unless it has already been sealed and remained so for a minimum of 10 years.
If I Have a Criminal Record in Another State That Has Been Expunged or Sealed, Am I Still Eligible to Have my Florida Criminal Record Expunged or Sealed?
If your criminal record in another state has been expunged or sealed by order of law, then the expungement or sealing of your criminal record from another state would not preclude you from qualifying to have your Florida criminal record expunged or sealed. If, however, your criminal record was expunged or sealed due to the fact that you requested to have this done by court order, or in some other way deliberately and proactively solicited the expungement or sealing, then, unfortunately, no, you would not qualify to have this additional record expunged or sealed.
Will the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tell Other Agencies Associated With my Case When my Record Has Been Expunged or Sealed?
In the event that your criminal record qualifies and the courts grant you your request, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will then act in accordance with the verified court order and expunge or seal the relevant criminal record. After the Florida Department of Law Enforcement expunges or seals the criminal record that was granted permission, an information letter will be mailed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to the appropriate agency or agencies that are associated with that particular case. The purpose of the information letter is to notify the appropriate agencies that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been given and subsequently submitted to the order in keeping with the expunge or seal status that was requested.
What Form of Background Check is Performed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to Decide my Eligibility for Record Expungement or Sealing?
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement handles criminal record checks in the state of Florida via the Florida Crime Information Center. Any necessary national criminal record checks are handled via the National Crime Information Center and checks into your driving record are handled via the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These three different databases are scrutinized in order to decide whether or not a person is qualified to even have their criminal record expunged or sealed.
Which Agencies Will Receive a Copy of the Directive to Expunge or Seal my Criminal Record?
In the event that your criminal record qualifies and the courts grant your petition, the Clerk of the Court, by law, is obligated to verify a copy of the court order that will be mailed to the Statewide Prosecutors Office or the State Attorney’s Office and any other necessary agency or agencies. Following that, the arresting agency is then required to mail a verified copy of your court order to any other agencies that are listed as having been given any information pertaining to your criminal record. Along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, these more common of these agencies usually include the Teen Courts, Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Corrections.
Let Us Help You Move on in Life! Call (888) 484-5057
A criminal record could follow you for the rest of your life, affecting your personal and professional life for years after you committed the crime. In order to move on from the mistakes you made, you should be able to have a clean slate. At Musca Law, our Florida expungement attorneys are experienced in Petitions to Seal and Expunge. We believe in second chances and are committed to putting more than 150 years of combined legal experience to work in order to make that happen. We are dedicated to providing each and every client first-class representation from start to finish and will develop the best strategy possible to achieve positive results.