When trying to understand how to seal a criminal record in Florida, know that it is complicated – but possible in certain circumstances.
A criminal record can cause difficulties in multiple areas of your life. It can affect your ability to get a job, secure a place to live, and travel. Your long-term financial future can be jeopardized. Personal relationships may be challenging too.
The importance of sealing a criminal record cannot be emphasized enough. It is like getting a fresh start on life if this can be done. It gives you protection when potential employers, college administrators, and other members of the public could base a decision on a criminal history. It can protect your reputation and more.
Are you wondering how to seal a criminal record in Florida?
In this post, we will discuss the eligibility requirements for sealing a criminal record in Florida, the process for sealing a record, and the timeline for sealing a record. This will help you to determine your next steps.
Eligibility Requirements for Sealing a Criminal Record in Florida
The State of Florida has specific eligibility requirements for sealing a criminal record.
First, you are not eligible if you have been convicted of a crime. You may be eligible for sealing if you have been arrested and not convicted. However, certain crimes are not eligible for sealing, such as violent crimes, sexual offenses, and certain drug offenses.
It is important to note that a defendant can be found guilty of an offense but not be convicted. If the judge finds you guilty but withholds adjudication, you may still be eligible for sealing your criminal record, as long as the offense was not on the ineligibility list.
The Sealing Process in Florida
When understanding how to seal court records, know that the process must be followed in a particular order and that each step must be accurately performed.
First, a petition must be filed with the court where the original case was adjudicated. Then, a certificate of eligibility must be obtained from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This includes supplying specific information about you and details of the charge or charges you are trying to get sealed. After these steps are complete, the date for a hearing may be set, or the final documents will be provided to the Judge, and the judge in the case will decide whether or not your criminal record can be sealed.
Due to the complexity and the ramifications of not obtaining the approval to get your court records sealed, it is important to have an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process.
Benefits of Sealing a Criminal Record in Florida
Sealing a criminal record can change your life. Even though it is complex, there are multiple benefits to moving forward with the process and getting your criminal sealed in Florida.
It can make it easier to find employment, bringing security to your financial future. It can also be easier to find housing. Other opportunities can also arise that may not become available to you if your records are not sealed. Know that a sealed record will not appear on most background checks, but there are some exceptions to that general rule.
The decision to move forward with the process will be consequential. With that in mind, having an experienced attorney help explain the benefits and potential drawbacks of sealing a record is highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sealing a Criminal Record in Florida
When people try to understand how to seal a criminal record in Florida, they often have many questions. Some FAQs include:
- How much does it cost to seal your record? Certain fees include application and filing fees, court fees related to your case, and attorney fees. These are short-term fees. Getting your criminal record sealed can generate financial and other benefits for the rest of your life.
- What are the types of crimes that are eligible for sealing? Generally, they are crimes that are not violent or sexual in nature, do not involve minors or children or offenses, do not involve driving under the influence, and are not major drug crimes, such as manufacturing or trafficking drugs.
- Will a sealed criminal record show up on a background check? Overall, no. However, there are exceptions, such as applying for a job with a criminal justice agency, the Department of Education, or Children and Family Services, among other restrictions listed in Florida Statutes.
An attorney can help to answer any questions you may have.
How Long Does It Take to Seal a Record?
The length of time will vary. Generally speaking, the average process can take several months or longer. Some cases can take less time. Others can take more than the average. This can depend on the type of offense, the age of the case, the individual’s criminal history, the jurisdiction where the offense was committed, or other factors.
Individuals should consult an experienced attorney to determine their eligibility for record sealing.
Working with an Experienced Attorney to Seal a Criminal Record in Florida
It can be very challenging across multiple areas of your life when you have a record. When considering how to seal a criminal record in Florida, seek out an attorney with experience in record sealing and a deep understanding of Florida’s criminal justice system. When you take action, it can make a big difference in your life moving forward.
An attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process of record sealing and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Dean Tsourakis is experienced in this area. Call 727-785-2700.on Apr 11, 2023