Expunction / Sealing of Records
A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. Even a misdemeanor will show up on background checks, which can make it more difficult to land a job, get into your dream college or grad program, obtain a loan or find housing. Even if you were not convicted, there are still arrest records and trial records that are public information.
In Florida, there are processes to seal (place under restricted access) or expunge (permanently remove) records pertaining to certain criminal offenses. However, it is a highly technical legal process. An attorney can help.
Lawyer to Seal or Expunge an Arrest Record in Fort Lauderdale, FL
A dedicated attorney from Meltzer & Bell can help you obtain a clean record. We will work to help you expunge or seal any records possible under Florida law. When you hire a Fort Lauderdale expungement lawyer from Meltzer & Bell, you’ll have an experienced partner available to you 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
We represent clients throughout Broward County from our Fort Lauderdale office, including in Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, Weston and Wilton Manors.
Expunction and record sealing can be lengthy process, so it’s important to start soon. Call (954) 228-2789 today to set up a free consultation.
Information for Record Sealing and Expunction in Florida
- Offenses for Which Expunction or Record Sealing is Available
- Process for Record Expungement and Sealing Under Florida Law
- Resources for Expungement and Sealing of Records
Offenses for Which Expunction or Record Sealing is Available
In Florida, record sealing and expunction (often called “expungement”) is available for records and convictions for certain crimes. The law specifically excludes several offenses, including:
- Violent crimes, including assault, battery, aggravated assault and battery, homicide and manslaughter
- Drug Trafficking
- Robbery, including carjacking
- Certain weapons offenses
- Sexual assault
- Child abuse
- Crimes relating to terrorism
Generally, unless the criminal offense has been excluded by Florida Statutes Annotated § 943.051, it is eligible for expungement or record sealing. Unless other circumstances present issues, records for theft, drug possession and other charges are often eligible.
A person may be able to have records sealed or expunged if he or she:
- Is not currently in a diversion program, like drug court;
- Has not been adjudicated or found guilty of a crime in his or her life; and
- Has not previously had a criminal record sealed or expunged.
Process for Record Expungement and Sealing Under Florida Law
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement oversees criminal records in the Sunshine State, and the process for expunging or sealing criminal records starts with submitting an application to the Department. The FDLE determines whether or not the person is eligible for expunction or record sealing.
If the applicant qualifies, the Department gives him or her a certificate of eligibility. To obtain the certificate, the person must submit the application and:
- Fingerprints from an authorized law enforcement agency;
- A certified disposition of the case;
- A money order or cashier’s check for $75; and
- For expunction, an application filled out by a state attorney or statewide prosecutor.
The certificate of eligibility is only the first step in the process for expunging or sealing relevant criminal records. An attorney from Meltzer & Bell can assist you in gathering the relevant documents and ensuring that every requirement is fulfilled.
Resources for Expungement and Sealing of Records
Seal and Expunge Process: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains the documents needed to seal or expunge criminal records. An attorney can help you complete these.
Florida Statutes Annotated § 943.0585: The state law pertaining to expunction of criminal records.
Florida Statutes Annotated § 943.059: The state law pertaining to the sealing of criminal records.
Finding an Attorney to Seal or Expunge a Record in Broward County, FL
If you are seeking a clean record after an arrest or criminal proceeding that did not result in a conviction, expungement or record sealing may be an option for you. Schedule a consultation with a skilled Fort Lauderdale expunction lawyer to discuss what options may be available to you, and what they may mean for your future.
Call today at (954) 228-2789.