A criminal offense has lifelong effects that can negatively affect your life, especially regarding opportunities. For instance, you can’t easily find a job or an employer willing to hire you because you have a criminal record. So in times like these, an expungement or sealing of your record is necessary. Fortunately, an Expungement lawyer in Ocala, FL, will help you.
Having a criminal record can produce problems along the way. These include having a hard time with employment, lesser loan opportunities, and limitations with housing. Expunging your criminal record is the only way to prevent these things from happening to you. So contact Smith & Eulo to help you with your Expungement Defenses in Ocala, FL.
What is an expungement?
Understanding what expungement is, the many expungements accessible in Florida, and the method and procedure for expunging your criminal record are crucial initial steps.
An Expungement is a legal process whereby a person’s criminal record is “sealed” or hidden from public view so that it cannot be seen or found by anyone conducting a background check.
As you already know, having a black mark on your record can negatively affect your ability to find a job, acquire a loan, or even obtain higher education. It can limit you in many ways, which is why expungement is available to those who qualify. However, keep in mind that there are crimes that can never be expunged.
Here are some common crimes that cannot be expunged in Florida (Please see Section 907.041, Florida Statutes for the complete list of crimes.)
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Illegal use of explosives
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
- Abuse of an older person or disabled adult or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or adult
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
- An act of terrorism
The process and procedure for expungement can vary depending on the type of expungement sought and the county in which you reside. Furthermore, remember that only one criminal offense can be expunged in a lifetime.
How to go through expungement in Ocala, FL
With the help of an Expungement defense attorney in Ocala, FL, you will go through different phases during the expungement process. Take a look at the steps below:
Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility
According to Florida Statutes 943.0585 and 943.059, the first step requires the person who wishes to have their criminal record expunged or sealed to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement first.
You’ll need to submit an application form already filled out with your basic information plus your charges and arresting agency. If you weren’t arrested but were given the Notice to Appear, you must provide the date where you would list the arrest date. After that, sign and date your application before a notary public.
Certified Disposition of Charges
The next step is to include a certified disposition of charges. This document will show that you were arrested, the charges filed against you, and the outcome or nature of your case. You can get this document from the clerk of court in the county where you were arrested or received your Notice to Appear.
Application approval by State attorney
This extra step pertains to receiving approval from the State Attorney’s Office prior to the FDLE processing your application. Furthermore, the appropriate State Attorney or prosecutor must complete a certified statement before petitioning the court for expungement. After that, the clerk of the court will execute the order.
Processing by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Before the FDLE issues your Certificate of Eligibility, they must ensure you’re eligible to petition the court. Florida Statute 943.0585 has the criteria for eligibility to expunge your records. On the other hand, Florida Statute 943.059 has the requirements for eligibility to seal your records.
Filing your petition with the court
Once your Certificate of Eligibility is granted, you may now file for expungement or sealing with the help of an Ocala, FL, DUI Expungement lawyer. Under this phase, the filing must include a petition to expunge or seal, a notarized order, an FDLE Certificate of Eligibility, and an affidavit for support.
How will you know if you’re eligible for expungement?
In Florida, you must meet specific requirements to become eligible for expungement. These are as follows:
- The charges against you must have been dismissed, acquitted, or no action was taken.
- You must not have been adjudicated guilty of the crime.
- You can’t have any other convictions except non-serious traffic offenses on your record.
- Your record can’t currently be sealed or expunged.
- The person is not seeking to expunge a criminal history record that is ineligible for court-ordered expunction.
- The person has never had a prior court-ordered expunction of a criminal history record.
What happens after the expungement
Expungement and sealing your records in Ocala, FL, offers extensive benefits that will massively change your life. So once you find yourself eligible, make sure to acquire a Certificate of Eligibility right away.
Benefits of expungement or sealing of criminal records:
- Your arrest records become a non-public record
- Sealing and eventual destruction of court records
- You’re allowed to deny the arrest ever occurred
- Removal of electronic information provided by government agencies to the public
Many other benefits will make life better for you or your loved ones. So it’s best to find legal representation to help you every step of the way if you have difficulty with the different processes.
An Expungement lawyer in Ocala, FL, will help you erase your criminal record for a fresh start
Expungement and sealing of criminal records are just what you need to make life easier. Make sure to check if you’re eligible, and apply for one now to give yourself a chance for a fresh start.
At Smith & Eulo, you will find the best lawyers with skills and knowledge regarding expungements. Contact us now, and we’ll give you the advice you need.