As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defnese lawyers know, being arrested for and/or charged with a crime can take a toll on your livelihood — and the inconvenience and limitations don’t end when the hearings, fines and probationary meetings stop. You shouldn’t have to pay for a bad decision for the rest of our life, and an experienced law firm like ours can help you make sure you don’t.
Even having a record of an arrest and/or criminal charges, which can be searched and accessed by state and non-state agencies alike, can be seriously harmful to your social life and both your academic and professional career.
There is a solution. In many cases, the State of Florida provides for an expuncation or sealing of criminal records given the fulfillment of certain requirements. Having your record expunged and/or sealed means that you can have an easier time moving ahead with your life.
To begin with, what is the difference between having your record expunged and having your record sealed? Basically, when a record is sealed, members of the public cannot access the record via government databases; this means that most employers will not have access to such information. That said, governmental agencies such as the police, the military, and other city/state/federal agencies, will be able to access a criminal record if they so choose. If a record is expunged, though, those agencies that can access a sealed record would be able to know that a record had been expunged, but they woouldn’t be able to know the content of the record without a court order.
Having your record sealed and/or expunged, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, can be a big relief. It means being able to apply to jobs, apply to schools, etc., without having to necesssarily worry that there is a record out there, hanging over your head.
To be sure, not everybody qualifies to have their record sealed or expunged, and the process to actually have your record sealed and/or expunged is a complicated one. Having an experienced Florida seal and expunge law firm such as ours by your side can make the process as seamless as possible.
First of all, in order to be eligible to have your record either expunged or sealed, according to the Florida State Statutes, you must not have, prior to the date on which the petition to expunge or seal a record is filed, been adjudicated guilty of any criminal offense. Moreover, you cannot have been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or misdemeanor under s. 943.051(3)(b), dealing with assault, battery, negligect of a child, arson, and other offenses.
Second of all, you must not have ever had an arrest or charge record sealed or expunged as permitted by the Florida State Statutes. This is critical, because it means that once you have a record sealed or expunged, you may not do so again. It is critically important to use your “one time” expunction and/or sealing of a record wisely.
As for attempting to expunge a record, it’s important to note that you can only have your record expunged if the charges against you in the case for which you want charges expunged were completely dismissed by the judge or prosecutor. (This may include cases in which there was a pre-trial diversion.)
There are many other requirements that one must meet in order to have their record expunged and/or sealed, and having your record expunged and/or sealed does not necessarily mean that you get to answer “No” to every question you find on a job and/or school application regarding whether you’ve been arrested or not. For information on all of these requirements and answers on how to move forward after a potential expunction and or sealing of a record, it is important that you speak with an experienced Florida law firm such as ours.
Having your record expunged and/or sealed can be of great benefit. To further discuss this option, please schedule a free consultation with our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to discussing your options with you.