If you have been arrested in Tampa Bay, you might have a record even for those dropped charges. When you have a criminal record, it can affect your eligibility to receive educational funds, find a job, or sign a rental lease. However, you can have your record sealed or expunged. With that process, it can be shielded from public view. You will want to speak with an expungement lawyer to discuss the specific circumstances of your case.
That criminal record will show up when any background check is performed. No matter where you go, that record stays with you. For that reason, you will want to seal your record or have it expunged.
There is a difference between expunging and sealing a criminal record. The record is hidden with a sealed record, but it can still exist in both a physical and legal sense. An expungement is the complete eradication of an arrest or criminal charge.
Both a sealed and expunged record will not be found in a background search for most employees. However, if the employer uses an FCIC/NCIC search, these charges might still appear on your record.
If your case record was sealed, you could qualify for an expungement after 10 years. However, not all crimes qualify for an expungement, such as:
Along with that, anyone who is convicted of a crime (felony or misdemeanor) is not eligible to have their records expunged or sealed. In the state of Florida, you cannot seal more than one criminal record.
If you have been convicted, sealing and expungement are not available options. You can also not seal more than one criminal record in Florida.
In cases where there were multiple charges, the courts will have the discretion to determine whether to expunge the entire or a part of the record.
Florida has several requirements that you must meet to expunge your criminal record, such as:
For those who want to seal or expunge their criminal record, you will have to submit your paperwork to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). However, this is a complicated matter. You will want to consult with an experienced defense lawyer like Robert Zlatkin.
The expungement process can take up to one year before it is completed. The background check by itself is about a 12-week process. In some cases, there are items in the background check that can disqualify you from expungement. This process is slow. Unfortunately, you cannot expedite it. These forms are handled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once that step is finished, you will need to fill out Florida’s Certificate of Eligibility.
For that reason, you need to hire an expungement lawyer. With a skilled attorney, you can be confident that all the paperwork is filled out correctly. The attorney can alert you to any potential issues. It can be frustrating to wait for a year, only to find out you are missing a vital form to complete your expungement.
You must meet a few requirements to expunge your criminal record in Florida, including:
In addition to that, you must file a petition with the clerk in the county where you were arrested. An affidavit is your sworn statement to the courts that your record qualifies for expungement.
Once you are qualified for expungement, you want to make sure that all the details are correctly filled out for your case. If there is a minor mistake, your paperwork could be rejected by the courts. With all that on the line, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about the expungement process.
In Florida, there are many benefits to expungement in the state. When you fill out an application, you can answer “no” to any questions about criminal arrests. There is no reason to worry about denial of a job or housing opportunities once you have expunged your record. Other benefits include:
A criminal record can lead to social stigma. You never have to fret about this criminal record again. With an expunged record, there are other opportunities that will open back up for you.
Robert Zlatkin understands the complexities of an expungement case. He will work to ensure that your petition and application are completed and filled out according to the state’s standards. Before you start the expungement process, you will want to speak to a skilled attorney in Tampa Bay. This process is one that you shouldn’t handle by yourself. If you have any questions about your qualifications or need help with the expungement process, make sure to contact Robert Zlatkin’s Tampa Bay office.