How Can I get My Record Sealed?
When a person is arrested for an offense a record is created, even if that charge is ultimately dropped or dismissed by the prosecutor. Just because the charges are dropped or the person was acquitted at trial does not mean that the case or arrest disappears.
However, there is an option that a person has in Florida what would allow for their record to be sealed/expunged. In Florida person may be eligible to have a charge or case sealed if the charge or charges were dropped or a person received a withhold of adjudication. A withhold of adjudication means that you were not formally convicted of the offense that you were charged with, if though you have been sentenced for it. If a person is adjudicated guilty of an offense then they are formally convicted of the charge, once a person is adjudicated guilty they are not eligible to get that charge or any charges after that conviction sealed or expunged. There are also offenses that even if a person receives a withhold of adjudication on they cannot get sealed. Read on to learn more about how to get your record sealed by the experienced Florida criminal defense attorneys at Meldon Law.
Steps for the Petition
The first step is petitioning the court to have your record sealed is applying to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a certificate of eligibility. If approved by the department then a person has 12 months in which to act upon to petition the court to have their record sealed. (In Florida, you only have one opportunity to have an offense sealed and expunged and typically can only have one charge sealed). However, you may be eligible to have multiple charges sealed if they both stem out of the same set of facts. For instance, possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. If a person has received a withhold of adjudication they may be eligible to have the charge sealed, however, the charge may not be expunged until it has been sealed for 10 years.
There are many benefits to having your record sealed and expunged, mainly it can help prevent your criminal history from effecting your employment opportunities. However, the Florida Department of law enforcement may reveal an expunged record if a person is applying for a professional license (i.e. the Florida bar, law enforcement agency).
How We Can Help
At Meldon Law we are experienced in helping people have their records sealed and expunged, we have the knowledge necessary to navigate the petition process and we also have the knowledge and experience to help you get the result necessary to be eligible to have your record sealed and expunged. contact us at 800-373-8000 to set up a free consultation.