Tampa Sealing/Expunction Of Records Lawyer
Help with Sealing & Expunction of Criminal Records
An arrest creates a record in local and national databases, regardless of whether you are convicted of the offense. Even if the case is later dismissed, the record of the arrest remains. These records can be found by a potential employer, creditor, landlord or anyone else who may be interested in your background. Having an arrest record can hinder your prospects and damage your reputation.
Under Florida law, you can seek to have an arrest expunged if you meet certain criteria. If you do not qualify for expungement, you may qualify to have your criminal case sealed. Contact Donald C. Barrett, P.A. for help with expunction or sealing of criminal records from a knowledgeable and experienced Tampa criminal records lawyer.
Sealing Florida Criminal History Records
The court-ordered sealing of criminal history records is governed by Florida Statute § 943.059. Once sealed, access to the records is restricted. Only the subject of the record, his or her attorney and criminal justice agencies may have access to the record. For instance, a prospective employer may not have access to the record, but a government background check (such as to purchase a firearm), would reveal the record. Once sealed, you may be able to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest, except under certain circumstances.
In order to obtain an Order granting the Sealing of a record, you must first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Once the Certificate of Eligibility is obtained, a Petition is filed with the Court. While sealing is available in many cases, some types of cases are not eligible for sealing. You also must not have been adjudicated guilty or have had any case sealed previously.
Expunction of Florida Criminal History Records
Whereas sealing records restricts their access from the general public, expunging a record pursuant to Florida Statute § 943.0585 completely removes the arrest record from criminal history databases. The process of applying for expunction, and the conditions which must be satisfied to be eligible, are similar (although not identical) to the rules surrounding sealing. You must first apply for and receive a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, after which you can petition the court for expungement. It is within the discretion of the court whether to grant the Petition to Expunge.
Act Now to Have your Arrest Record Sealed or Expunged
Having a criminal record sealed or expunged can take several months to accomplish. If you anticipate a background check in the future, you should act now. Contact Donald C. Barrett, P.A. in Tampa to find out whether you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed or expunged.