St. Augustine Expungement Attorney
Sealing & Expunging Criminal Records in Florida
At Canan Law, we know a lapse in judgment that results in criminal charges can have a lasting impact on your life. It can ruin your reputation, impact your current job and future employment opportunities, affect college sports and scholarships for young adults, and have a range of other lasting implications.
We believe that you have the right to a fair future. Florida law allows the removal of some arrest records and offenses from your criminal record through the process of having your record sealed or expunged. Our team of St. Augustine expungement lawyers at Canan Law can discuss these options with you and determine which path forward may be right for you.
Sealing Criminal Records
Choosing to seal your criminal record means it will no longer be open to the public. This can be helpful for colleges, future employers, and background checks. However, your files can still be accessed under specific scenarios, including if you are arrested for or accused of a future offense, if you wish to buy a firearm, or if you apply for a criminal justice or government job. In these situations, the existence of a record will be disclosed, but the specifics of the documents will still be sealed.
To qualify to have your criminal record sealed in Florida, you must meet the following requirements:
- You pled guilty or no contest, and the court withheld adjudication of guilt, OR;
You were found guilty, and the court withheld adjudication of guilt, AND;
- You were not found guilty of an offense that is not eligible for record sealing
- You have no prior convictions for any crimes in Florida
- Any juvenile felonies/specific misdemeanors resulting in the adjudication of delinquency were automatically expunged
Additionally, you can only have your criminal record sealed in Florida if you have never had another Florida arrest sealed or expunged before.
Please note that this is a general overview of the eligibility requirements for having your criminal record sealed in Florida; if you have questions or are unsure if you are eligible for record sealing, please contact our St. Augustine record sealing attorneys for a consultation today.
Expunging Criminal Records
In contrast to record sealing, which merely shields your record from public view, criminal record expungement in Florida results in the actual destruction of your record. Seeking to expunge your records will destroy the files except for a copy kept by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Only law enforcement can ever see these records, and they will be virtually erased to the public, employers, and background checks.
Qualifying for criminal record expungement in Florida is somewhat more difficult than qualifying to have your record sealed. To be eligible for expungement, the following must be true:
- Your charges were dropped, dismissed, or you were acquitted, AND;
- You have no prior convictions for any criminal offenses in Florida
Additionally, to qualify for record expungement, all juvenile felonies and specified misdemeanors must have been automatically expunged. You also cannot have your record expunged if you have sealed or expunged other criminal records in Florida unless you are seeking to have a record expunged that has been sealed for at least 10 years.
What Is Adjudication of Guilt?
In Florida, it is possible to be found guilty of a criminal offense and not be convicted. This is known as an adjudication of guilt withheld. In other words, when the court adjudicates guilt, it means an individual is convicted of a crime. When the court withholds adjudication of guilt, it means the person was not convicted of an offense.
To be eligible for either criminal record sealing or expungement in Florida, you must have NEVER been convicted of a crime in Florida. However, you could still be eligible if you were found guilty or pled “guilty” or “no contest” to charges.
Call Canan Law Today for a Consultation
If you wish to seal or expunge your criminal record in Florida, you need an attorney who has successfully handled record sealing and expungement cases. At Canan Law, our team has experience as former prosecutors and knows how the other side operates. We know the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and are committed to protecting your rights every step of the way.
We can offer aggressive representation and a skilled strategy regarding which option is best for your specific case. Reach out to our St. Augustine expungement attorneys today to learn more.