Expunging White Collar and other Crimes From Your Record

Under Florida law, adult criminal history records are public unless they have been sealed or expunged. When a criminal history record is sealed, it means that your record still exists but the public will not have access to it. In contrast, expungement deletes any record that an arrest or criminal charge ever occurred. This means that you can legally deny ever having been arrested before, both to law enforcement officials and even on (most) job applications. This can be extremely important for maintaining your reputation in the business world if you were ever charged with a crime. So how can you go about getting your criminal record expunged in Florida? Read ahead to learn the basics.

  • Eligibility

First, you have to determine whether you’re eligible. In Florida, statutes set criteria that you have to meet in order to be eligible to have your criminal record expunged or sealed by a court. To be eligible, you cannot have ever been convicted of a crime, regardless of how long ago the conviction occurred or where (including out-of-state offenses). Any charge where one was acquitted after trial (in other words, a “not guilty” verdict) must have first been sealed for at least 10 years before it can be expunged. However, a charge that was dismissed before trial may be expunged immediately so long as all charges related to that arrest were completely disposed of, and the record is otherwise eligible.

You should speak with a qualified criminal law attorney to guide you through the process and help you fully understand the eligibility requirements.

  • File a petition for expungement

If you and your attorney have determined that you meet the requirements for eligibility, you may then apply for a Certificate of Eligibility from the FDLE.

The FDLE provides applications for the Certificate of Eligibility to court clerks in every county throughout the state of Florida, but your petition to expunge must be filed at the court where the arrest or conviction happened. You can also obtain an application for the Certificate of Eligibility by downloading it from the FDLE website or requesting to have one sent to you by mail. 

  • What happens if your application is denied?

The expungement process can be complicated, and even small mistakes on your application can lead to a complete denial or delays lasting months or even years. If your application was denied and you believe such a denial to be incorrect, then you may ask that the denial be reviewed.

  • What does it cost?

In Florida, there is a minimal fee of $75 when filing your expungement petition. Check with the FDLE for the latest information.

  • Work with an attorney

As with any criminal law matter, it is important to make sure you have the proper representation to make sure your rights are protected. The criminal justice system is complex and often minor mistakes can have long-lasting consequences.

Getting your record expunged is an important step towards a brighter future. At Cove Law we are experienced in helping business people deal with the often complicated processes of the criminal justice system. If you want to get your criminal record expunged, don’t hesitate and contact us today.

Andrew Cove
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