Sealing/Expunging a Criminal Record in Miami
Being arrested or charged with a crime in Florida means that you will have a criminal record, which can make it difficult to find a job or a place to live. Moreover, your reputation will be damaged regardless of whether you are convicted. Under limited circumstances, you might be able to hire a criminal defense attorney for sealing and/or expunging your criminal record. However, it is important to make sure that you qualify.
Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, a premier criminal defense practice located in Miami, assists clients with sealing and expunging criminal records in South Florida. As a former public defender, founding attorney Antonio Valiente understands the lasting repercussions a criminal record can have on your future. Having a criminal record available for public scrutiny especially to prospective employers, may limit your employment options. When you work with our expungement attorneys, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have a chance to make a fresh start.
Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record in Florida
Under Florida law, sealing a criminal record means that it is placed under court-ordered protection, which bars public disclosure. While information and documents related to the case remain on file with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the criminal record remains confidential and cannot be accessed by the public. Only certain government agencies (e.g. law enforcement and the courts), are permitted to see sealed criminal records.
In an expungement, also referred to as an expunction, the criminal record is physically destroyed. The FDLE maintains a copy of the file, however, which can only be released to a government agency under a court order. A sealed or expunged criminal record will not turn up in a background check conducted by a prospective employer.
In addition, you can legally say that you have never been accused of a crime, except when:
- You are a defendant in a criminal prosecution
- You are seeking employment with a criminal justice agency
- You are seeking employment, licensing or contract work with the Department of Family Services or Department of Juvenile Justice, or seeking a position with direct contact to children, the developmentally disabled, or the elderly
- You are seeking employment or licensing by the Department of Education, school board, university laboratory school, charter school, private or parochial school or local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities
- You are seeking employment with the Florida seaports
- You are seeking to purchase a firearm and are subject to a criminal history background check under federal or state law
Eligibility to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Florida
To be eligible to seal or expunge your Florida criminal record related to one criminal episode, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have never been adjudicated (convicted) guilty of any criminal offense
- You have never obtained a previous sealing or expungement in Florida
- You are not currently under any type of court supervision (e.g, probation, house arrest, or pretrial release)
- You did not enter a plea of guilty or no contest to an offense ineligible for sealing or expungement under Florida law
Under Florida law, certain offenses are not eligible to be sealed or expunged, typically those involving violent crimes, drug crimes, and sex crimes such as:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Illegal use of explosives
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
- Abuse of elder of disabled adult
- Aircraft piracy
- Sexual battery
- Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act with child under 16
- Sexual activity with a child over 12 but under 18
- Burglary of a dwelling
- Domestic violence
- Home-invasion robbery
- Act of terrorism
- Manufacturing/trafficking drugs
- Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person
- Sexual misconduct with a mental health patient
The best way to determine whether or not your criminal record is eligible for sealing or expunction is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Call Our Florida Expunging A Record Attorney
We all make mistakes, but having an arrest record can haunt you for the rest of your life. If you are hoping to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start, call Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC. We will take the time to review your case, determine whether or not you are eligible for a criminal record sealing or expunction, and guide you through the process with the FDLE.
Because it may take up to 1 year to have a criminal record sealed or expunged, the sooner you call us the sooner we can help you restore your good name. Please contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case.