Having a criminal record can be detrimental in several aspects of your life. Some ways your record of prior convictions can hold you back are getting certain jobs, qualifying for a loan, renting an apartment, and even being able to purchase a firearm.
If you are looking to have your record cleared in Lakeland, FL you might have found the right place. Here at the Smith & Eulo Law Firm our Criminal Defense Lawyers have over 20 years of combined experience successfully litigating criminal cases in Polk County and across the State of Florida.
There are a few different types of situations where records can be sealed or expunged. In most cases, juvenile charged are sealed once the person becomes an adult, unless the juvenile was charged as an adult. Typically, juveniles are charged as adults in cases where the juvenile committed a serious felony. For an adult to get their record sealed or expunged, they must qualify for it. You may qualify for expungement of a record, you may qualify to have your record sealed, or you may qualify for neither.
Whether you qualify for expungement/ sealing of a criminal record is not something for you or your lawyer to decide. Therefore, it is important that you consult with competent legal professionals to assess whether you or your loved one qualifies for either of these options. Contact us for a free consultation to determine what is the best course of action for you.
It is important to note that expungement can only be done once in a lifetime. It is possible for more than one record to be expunged during the same proceeding, if the court finds that the two arrests are directly related to each other. It is possible for a record that was initially ineligible for expungement to be eligible after 10 years, but you can still only proceed with expungement once in a lifetime.
Even though it is not required for you to have an attorney when you are requesting to seal or expunge your record, it is recommended that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Our criminal defense lawyers in Lakeland, FL have over 20 years of experience in handling criminal cases including expungements. Give us a call now for a free consultation.
Let’s note the difference between expungement and the sealing of records
Is the complete removal of the record from your history. All the records are destroyed and are unable to be found upon searching for them or when looking at your criminal history. In order to qualify for expungement your case should have been resolved in one of the following ways:
- The charges against you were dropped, dismissed or you were acquitted of all charges by a judge or a jury, and
- You have never been convicted before of a criminal offense in the state of Florida, and
- All juvenile felonies and specific misdemeanors that ended up in an adjunction of delinquency have been automatically expunged, and
- You have never sealed or expunged another record in the state of Florida before
When your record is sealed, it still exists but its confidential. The only people with access to your record once its sealed is you, your attorney, and criminal justice agencies for specific purposes. To qualify for your record to be sealed in Florida your case should have been resolved as follows:
- You plead “guilty” or “no contest” and the court withheld the adjudication of guilt, or
- You were found “guilty” after trial and the Court “Withheld” the adjunction of guilt, and
- The offense(s) you were found guilty of is/are not prohibited from being sealed
- You have never been convicted of a crime in Florida
- Any juvenile felonies and misdemeanors that resulted in an adjudication of delinquency have been automatically expunged
- You have never expunged or sealed a past arrest in the state of Florida
Your past mistakes don’t have to ruin your future. Call us today for a free consultation to see if our experienced and skilled legal team can help you with expungement or sealing of records proceedings. We have over 20 years of successful criminal defense experience in Lakeland, FL and the surrounding areas.
Here are some additional legal resources in Lakeland Florida to help you navigate your legal situation.