This section focuses mainly on the process of getting one’s criminal records expunged in the state of Florida. The various forms and supporting documents that are needed are also mentioned in this section. Furthermore, this section also discusses what makes an individual eligible for having his or her criminal records expunged.
Before an individual can send in an application to the court for having his or her criminal records expunged, it is necessary for him or her to apply to the FDLE in order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility. It is important to note here that just because an individual has been granted this Certificate of Eligibility in no way implies that the court will definitely seal of expunge his or her criminal records. The purpose of the Certificate of Eligibility is to only demonstrate that the person is entitled to seek expungement or record sealing of his or her criminal records.
In order to apply for this Certificate of Eligibility, an individual needs to go through a proper application process. These applications are provided by the FDLE and are available with all the Clerk of Courts. If you want to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility, you may procure the application process from one of the criminal divisions that are located in the courthouse of each county. Additional information can also be obtained from the office of the local county Clerk.
Before you apply for a Certificate of Eligibility, you may want to obtain a copy of your criminal records. This can be done for any reason; you may want to review the information that has been written down in your criminal history file in order to determine whether you have accurately filled out your application or not. Furthermore, by having a copy of your criminal record in front of you, you can also see whether there have been any errors in what has been written down. If any information appears to be incomplete or incorrect, you can challenge it at this time. This is a service that is provided free of cost by the FDLE. If a person has had more than one criminal conviction in the past, then having a copy of his or her criminal history records also allows him or her to determine which arrests or convictions can be expunged or sealed. However, it is not necessary for any person applying for expungement or record sealing to undergo Personal Review (that is, obtain a copy of the criminal history record) before applying to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility.
An individual may not be granted with a Certificate of Eligibility the first time that he or she applies for it. This may be because of the information contained in the person’s criminal record or file. However, it is possible that the information that led to the denial of this certificate is actually inaccurate in reality. In this case, it is possible for the individual to apply for a review of this information so that his or her criminal record may be corrected. Another situation can also occur in which a person may feel that the law was incorrectly interpreted and applied to his or her case. In this situation, it is possible for the individual to submit an appeal to the FDLE so that the authority may review his or her case once more.
After an individual has provided the court with the Certificate of Eligibility and the petition form to have his or her criminal records expunged, the court will then review the case of the individual. If the judge decides that justice will be served to the individual if his or her criminal record is sealed or expunged, then the judge will issue an order to this effect. A copy of this order also has to be given to the FDLE.
Amongst other conditions and circumstances that determine whether an individual is eligible for having his or her criminal records expunged or sealed, one of the conditions is that the individual cannot have had any previous record expunged or sealed in the state of Florida or any other jurisdiction in the past. This basically means that it is not possible for any person to have more than one arrest or conviction expunged or sealed. In certain cases, however, the court may find that some of the arrests of the individual are directly related to one another. In this case, it is possible for the individual to have the corresponding records sealed.
Whether or not a certain record can be expunged or sealed can also change over time. It is possible, for example, that a record may be considered eligible for expunction if it has remained sealed for a period of ten years or more. However, in this case, the individual would then not be allowed to again apply to have another record sealed or expunged. There is one exception to this general rule according to which an individual cannot apply to have another record expunged or sealed. There are certain laws in Florida that result in the automatic sealing or expunction of a criminal record after a certain amount of time. In order for this to be done, the individual himself or herself does not need to do anything at all. If an individual has had any criminal record automatically expunged, then he or she is still considered to be eligible for applying for another process of expungement or record sealing.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website (http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/c83dd888-ef7a-448e-9a96-ba69fc4181f7/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx) provides further instructions on how to fill out the form for requesting an expunction and contains links to the actual forms as well.
According to the laws governing Florida, there are certain charges that cannot be sealed or expunged in any situation. This includes and is not limited to charges of sexual assault, manslaughter, battery and domestic violence. In addition to this, if a person has been deemed guilty for carrying out any criminal offense in any of the jurisdictions, then his or her application for expungement or record sealing is sure to be denied, regardless of whether or not that criminal offense is related to the charge the individual wants to obtain expunction for.