What You Should Know About Expungements
Are any criminal records automatically expunged in Florida?
No, no criminal record is ever automatically expunged. If you want to expunge your record, which is the legal deletion of that record, you need to petition to have it expunged. Now, there is an exception, in a sense, and that is in juvenile court. If you go through a pretrial diversion program, which is a first time offender program, you can have it expunged administratively, which means you can do it much more efficiently. But otherwise, no. Any criminal case in Florida is a permanent record, even if it’s been dismissed and stays on your record unless and until it’s expunged by the court
Are Juvenile Records Expunged in Florida?
In Florida, juvenile records are maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a minimum of five years after your 18th birthday. There is this misconception that just because the offense was juvenile that somehow it magically disappears when you turn 18; that’s just not the case. In fact, if, by chance, you get in trouble between your 18th and your 23rd birthday before FDLE is no longer required to maintain that record, that record can actually become permanent, so it’s really important if you have a juvenile record to take a look and see. Can you have it sealed? Is it possible to have it expunged? If not, what can you do to best protect yourself from that becoming permanent?
How can I clear my criminal record in Florida?
The most obvious way to clear a criminal record is to expunge the record; however, you’ve got to qualify for expungement. It’s not an automatic process. You can’t have any convictions of any kind, the nature of the charge has to be one of the qualifying offenses, and then you have to petition the court, so it is a bit of a process. On average, we tell our clients that expungements take about six to seven months from start to finish, so it’s smart to consult with a lawyer, review your background and history, and determine whether, in fact, you qualify to have your record expunged. If you don’t qualify for an expungement, you may qualify to have your record sealed, so it’s still worth looking into to determine what options are available to you.
Can I get an Expungement if I’ve been convicted?
Unfortunately if you have a conviction of any kind, it can’t be expunged. The number one basis to deny an expungement is a conviction, because it is a prerequisite, to expunge your case, that the case be dismissed. That felony or misdemeanor conviction is a no-go. Your only real opportunity that you might have is to get a pardon, but a pardon has to be done through the governor’s office, so they’re very few and far between and incredibly difficult to come by. A felony conviction and an expungement unfortunately just don’t go well
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