A criminal record has dire consequences that can affect many aspects of your life, such as your ability to find a job, since most employers will do a background check. The same goes when trying to get a loan or buy a home. So if you’re trying to bring your life back without the shadow of your criminal record hindering your success, you can request it expunged or sealed.
If you need to know how the process will go, you can hire an expungement lawyer in Clearwater. They have the skills and experience to help you file for expungement or sealing of your records.
Fortunately, here at Smith & Eulo we have a team of lawyers who can give you sound legal counsel. With their help, you’ll be able to get your criminal record expunged or sealed so that you can make a fresh start.
Understanding What Expungement Is About
Expungement is sealing or hiding your criminal record from the public view. The main goal for some people is to prevent convictions or charges from appearing in a background check. So it’s an excellent option for those who want to apply for a job and want to turn their life around without being judged.
However, it’s worth noting that certain crimes can’t be expunged. Most of these crimes are severe and involve long periods of incarceration. The complete list of crimes is available for viewing in Section 907.041, Florida Statutes.
The list of crimes that can’t be expunged:
- Aggravated assault
- Child abuse
- Aggravated child abuse
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated stalking and stalking
- Illegal use of explosives
You can only have one criminal record expunged in your lifetime, so what you want to be expunged or sealed matters. Moreover, the expungement process will differ depending on what type of expungement you want. Therefore, looking for an expungement lawyer defense in Clearwater is essential so that you know the entire process and what to expect.
The Process of Expungement
Since having a criminal record can limit you in many ways, starting with the expungement process as soon as possible is best. It will consist of a step-by-step process that works best if you hire the help of a Clearwater expungement lawyer.
Obtain a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Application for Certification of Eligibility
Florida Statutes 943.0585 and 943.059 states that you need to get an application for certification of eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Complete Section A of the Application
Make sure to fill out your portion of the application, which asks for your basic information, charges, and the arresting agency. Afterward, sign and date the application before a notary public.
The Office of the State Attorney will Complete Section B
After completing your application, you must submit it to the Office of the State Attorney. They will complete the other section, which they’ll return to you.
Submit the Application to the FDLE
You’ll need to apply to the FDLE once you receive the application from the State Attorney’s office. They will determine if the result is a success or not.
File the Petition
Once your Certificate of Eligibility is granted, you must file the petition. Ensure to include the petition to seal or expunge, the notarized order, an affidavit of support, and the Certificate of Eligibility. You can hire an Expungement Lawyer Defense in Clearwater to help you with this process since it’s crucial.
Important Factors to Remember During the Process
Once you’re ready to send the application to the FDLE, make sure to include the Certified Copy of the disposition of the matter you seek to have expunged that’s available at the County Clerk, your fingerprints, the application, and pay the $75 fee.
After that, the FDLE will send you a Certificate of Eligibility, which means the result is successful. Afterward, get a blank form Petition for the Petition and Affidavit to Expunge or Seal. You must file it with the Certificate of Eligibility with the Clerk of the Court.
The last step is the court process, where the court will determine if they should agree or disagree with the expungement. You’ll receive a certificate from FDLE if they agree, but a hearing on the matter is necessary if they disagree.
Please refer to the Office of the State Attorney – “Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records: A Step by Step Guide to the Process” for more information.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for Expungement?
There are certain factors you must keep in mind in terms of eligibility requirements. These requirements are as follows:
- You must not have been found guilty of the crime
- You don’t have prior court-ordered expunction of criminal record
- You can only have non-serious traffic offenses
- You can’t have any more serious criminal charges
- Your record can’t be expunged or sealed currently
- The charges must be dismissed or acquitted, or no action has been taken against it
- You’re not looking to expunge a criminal record that’s ineligible for court-ordered expunction
What to Expect After the Expungement
Once your expungement is done, you will see results right away. It will turn your life around for the better since it offers tons of benefits. So once you find out you’re eligible, acquire a Certificate of Eligibility and follow the process above to start your expungement.
Some benefits are as follows:
- The arrest records are hidden from the public
- Sealing and eventual destruction of court records
- You can deny the arrest even happened
With the help of legal representation, such as an expungement lawyer defense attorney in Clearwater, you can now live a life without being haunted by your past since you can freely apply for jobs, get higher education, and more.
Experience a New Start by Going Through the Expungement Process
The sealing and expungement of your criminal records can massively change your life for the better. So expungement is necessary for those who don’t want to encounter problems while they go on with their lives.
At Smith & Eulo, our professional lawyers are capable of helping you through the process of expungement. You can contact us today, and we’ll help you understand how expungement works in your favor.