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How to Expunge Your Criminal Records in Florida

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The Sunshine State may not be so sunny when you have a past criminal record on your shoulders. Furthermore, Florida’s law enforcement agencies and courts make it simple for anyone to access your criminal records. If you ask anyone who has been arrested in Florida, they’ll tell you how difficult it can be to achieve important things in life like get a job, travel, or find a decent home. In Florida, you can only expunge your criminal records if you have no past convictions, regardless of when or where the conviction occurred.

If you qualify to get your criminal records expunged, you have the opportunity for a fresh start in life. A new beginning can be a great investment of your time and money.

The Benefits of Expunging Your Criminal Records

The primary benefit of expunging your criminal records is that, under Florida law, you can legally fail to acknowledge the arrests and convictions under the expunged record.

Other benefits of expunging your criminal records include:

  • If you hold a professional certificate or license, the expungement will help you retain those certificates and licenses.
  • An expungement can potentially impact positively on your credit rating.
  • An expungement enables you to legally state on your job application that you’ve never been convicted of a criminal offense.

The Process of Record Expungement in Florida

Record expungement can be a complicated process. Any small mistakes on the petition could force you to begin the process all over again. That’s why it’s wise to involve an experienced expungement attorney in Florida to represent you and ensure that everything is done correctly from the beginning. Again, ensure that the attorney provides an option to clear your records beyond the courtroom. Most often, criminal records are kept by many online background check companies who must be notified that your records have been expunged by the courts; otherwise, they’ll keep your records in their systems for years.

Certificate of Eligibility

The first step towards expunging your criminal records is to verify your eligibility by obtaining a certificate of eligibility. You’re required to complete section A of the application and sign it before a notary public. An authorized law enforcement officer will take your fingerprints and submit a properly completed fingerprints form together with the application. A certified disposition of the case that you want to expunge must also be obtained from the clerk of the court where the charges were brought. In some cases, you may be required to provide a copy of Termination of Probation with a nonrefundable method of payment.

The next step is to have a state attorney or prosecutor complete section B of your application. If your application has any missing portions, it will be returned or unprocessed. You will also need to complete a declaration indicating how the conviction has hurt your career and job opportunities, your future plans, training and education, social and religious affiliations, and how your life has completely turned around.

What Happens when Your Application for a Certificate of Eligibility is Denied

If you have reasons to believe that your certificate of eligibility was a mistake, you can request a review. Sometimes the denial may be based on inaccurate or incomplete criminal history information, so you must follow the review process and have those records corrected as detailed under the Florida laws. However, if you have reasons to believe that your criminal records are correct but the law was incorrectly applied to your case, you can appeal the decision through an expungement attorney.

Final Verdict

Expunging a criminal record is a complex process that requires the assistance of a reputable Florida criminal defense attorney. Any slight mistakes on your application could result in denial or unnecessary delays in your case. The Chamberlin Law Firm provides quality, client-centered legal services in Florida. If you’re accused and charged with any criminal offense ranging from traffic crimes and misdemeanor to serious felony offenses, contact us today for professional legal representation or criminal record expungement.

Posted on: 12 Feb, 2018