Do I Need an Attorney to Expunge/Seal my Criminal Record in Florida?
UPDATED: March 10, 2020
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Getting your criminal history record expunged or sealed in Florida is a complex and involved process, no matter the type of record. The criminal history of an individual becomes an important factor in determining his or her eligibility for hiring, promotions, etc, depending on the job and who the employer may be (private, public, institutions, schools, government, etc).
You will want to pursue the services of a criminal law attorney in Florida to determine your rights and options in a record sealing or expunction matter in any of the following circumstances:
- You have any prior convictions of any kind. The laws in Florida around exceptions to eligibility for expunction or sealing of criminal records are many and varied. For instance, your record is not eligible for expunction if you have been found guilty of any criminal activity "stemming from" your original arrest. This information and other exceptions are discussed in more detail in the sections entitled Eligibility for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Florida, and Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Florida. If you have had other run-ins with the law and cannot very precisely determine what acts stemmed from the original arrest and what acts may not have, then you could be wasting a lot of your time and money applying in the first place without an attorney to look over the details as they're described in the statute.
- You think an automatic expunction or sealing should have occurred on your record but you are not sure if or when this occurred. Finding out which of your prior charges may have been automatically erased from the record after a certain time period, such as some juvenile offenses, is very time-consuming and also very necessary. You cannot risk converting one or more these automatic court sealings into requested court sealings. If you do, you in effect put another expunction/sealing request on the court books. Doing so will invalidate the specific criminal history expunction request you are seeking right now! If you are applying for a job or otherwise just trying to clear your record of the most visible and consequential records, you want an attorney to make sure the job is done correctly. If there is a miscue, you could lose the right to try again!
- You want to have an expert to rely on and hold accountable during this process. The attorney who is an expert in the field can see you through an often overwhelming legal process and court procedures that are necessary to achieve your desired outcome.
For more articles on Florida expunctions, click on the following: