Your Reputation is Your Most Important Asset
If you are eligible, the law firm of de la Grana Boardman can help you petition to seal or expunge your criminal record in Florida. Attempting to seal or expunge your record without an attorney is difficult and time-consuming, so you should hire an experienced lawyer that can help expedite the process as quickly as possible.
Today, if someone Google’s your name they can find your mug-shot and criminal record.
This can be problematic for you and affect your family. In fact, private data mining companies like MugShots.com dedicate a web pages to show mug shots, and criminal charges. If your case is eligible to be sealed or expunged, it is your right you have under Florida law to do so.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Seal or Expunge the Arrest Record
We can help you protect your reputation. At the law firm of de la Grana Boardman, we guide you through the process quickly. We provide the necessary paperwork and will send it to the appropriate agencies, and then prepare the petition for the judge’s signature. We will also attend any court hearing in front of the assigned judge.
Once you hire us, you will answer a some questions, sign the paperwork we provide for expungement, and return a provided fingerprint card. Hiring us now means, your criminal record will be sealed or expunged quickly.
Are You Eligible for Sealing or Expungement?
The information below will help you determine whether you are eligible. If you believe that you are, then contact our office at 813-248-0704 for a free consultation with our attorneys about sealing or expunging your criminal record.
We have successfully represented clients who needed to seal or expunge a criminal record in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and Hernando County, and all over the State of Florida.
More Reasons to Seal or Expunge Your Arrest Record
In the State of Florida, law enforcement agencies are making it easier people to find your criminal record. Prior to March 2009, the Hillsborough County Sheriff Office’s website published arrest information, including mug shots, arrest charges, bond details, and other booking information for individuals going back five years.
However, the Hillsborough County Sheriff Office’s website recently updated their policy and it now publishes electronic mug shots, bond details and other arrest information for everyone arrested since January 1, 1995. Clerk of court records go back even further in history. Further, private companies, like mugshots.com, can download these online records to their databases. Polk County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Hernando County law enforcement agencies have also decided to make this information publicly available. It is imperative to seal or expunge your criminal record because otherwise it will haunt you for the rest of your life!
The Florida State legislature has a history of changing the seal and expungement laws, so time is of the essence. The laws in Florida regarding your right to seal or expunge a criminal record have consistently changed over the years. Don’t wait until your case is deemed ineligible for the seal, or expunge process.
If you come into our office in Ybor City, you can retain us and fill out all the paperwork. Or you can call us, speak with one of our attorneys by phone for a consultation. If you live out of town, we will mail the paperwork and fingerprint card to you.
If you are ineligible to seal or expunge your Florida criminal record, then there is a chance you may be able to vacate your Florida conviction through Rule 3.850 post-conviction motion. This can happen under certain limited circumstances.
Benefits of Florida Criminal Expungement
The Circuit Courts and County Courts in Florida have jurisdiction over all criminal records. This means the courts can seal or expunge any Florida criminal history information they maintain and as well as records maintained by any Florida law enforcement agencies.
• Expunge – Then your records from the court and by law enforcement agencies will by physically destroyed. However, a copy of your file is on record with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”).
• Seal – Then your record remains private, and the public does not have access to your information through any government databases. However, certain government entities, like the police, may have legal rights to access criminal records that are sealed.
Note: If your record is expunged, the government entities that have access to your sealed record will be told that the record was “expunged.” They would then need a court order to access to the file maintained by the FDLE.
BOTTOM LINE: Employers will not have access to the information through a background check.
Do I Have to Disclose that my Record was Sealed or Expunged?
Employment applications usually ask about arrest records or pleas to a criminal offenses. In Florida, the law allows you to deny an arrest that is sealed or expunged. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are:
1. applying to change your immigration status;
2. a defendant facing a pending charge;
3. applying for employment with a criminal justice agency;
4. applying for employment with, Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Education, any school board, any state university or charter school, all private and parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;
5. applying for a job that has direct contact with minors or children, developmentally disabled persons, or the elderly;
6. applying for employment or access to any port;
7. applying for admission to the Florida State Bar; or
8. petitioning to seal or expunge a criminal record.
Seal and Expunge Attorney Tampa
A Seal and Expunge Attorney Tampa will assist you with your case. First, we will obtain a certificate of eligibility for expunction or sealing from the FDLE. Then your criminal defense attorney will obtain your certificate of eligibility, and file a petition in the court that had jurisdiction over your case. This certificate states the legal grounds on which the request is made, and further states that the official records should be sealed or expunged.
Your petition needs to be accompanied by an affidavit stating the facts that support your petition along with the Florida statutory grounds. We will also file a copy of your certificate of eligibility. Your petition and affidavit will be served to the appropriate State Attorney’s Office, the law enforcement agency that made the arrest, and the FDLE. The prosecutor or the law enforcement agency have the right to respond to your petition.
A hearing before a judge in court may be deemed necessary, so it is important that an experienced seal and expungement attorney represent you. We can minimize the risk that your petition will be denied in court. On rare occasions, the court has denied a motion with no objection from the state prosecutor’s office or law enforcement agency that made the arrest.
If denied, you can appeal the denial by proving the court abused its discretion in denying the petition, this is difficult to do, but we have had success in doing so for some of our clients. That is why it is important to hire an attorney from our firm. de la Grana Boardman has an outstanding reputation with the state attorney’s office. Will discuss your petition with the prosecutor and provide them with information beneficial to your case and help you get your criminal record sealed or expunged.
Eligibility to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record
If you can answer “NO” to all of the questions below, then you may be eligible to have your Florida criminal record sealed or expunged.
1. Have you ever been convicted of a crime in the United States for any offense, including, a misdemeanor, a felony, or a criminal ordinance violation?
2. As a minor, were you ever “adjudicated delinquent” of a criminal charge?
3. Have you had an adult criminal record sealed or expunged already?
4. Are you presently under court-ordered supervision or diversion program, i.e., MIP or PTI, probation or community control?
5. Is the criminal record you are seeking to seal on this list of disqualifying offenses?
Requirements to Expunge Your Record
If your criminal case was resolved without a plea, then you may be eligible to have your record expunged. For example, the court dismisses the charge, or the State Attorney’s Office filed no formal charges, or the prosecutor filed charges, but dropped them and entered a nolle prosequi or nol pross.
If your Florida criminal record is expunged, then the public does not have access to any arrest or prosecution records. Only agencies that have access to a sealed record would be advised that the record had been expunged. The contents of the record cannot be released without a court order. The agency will receive a statement that says “Criminal Information has been expunged from this Record.”
Requirement to Seal Your Record
In Florida, if the court withheld adjudication after you plead guilty or no contest and you do not have any other criminal convictions, the there is a possibility to have your Florida criminal record sealed.
After your criminal record is sealed, the public cannot access your record. Once your record is sealed for ten years, it becomes eligible for expunction.
In Florida, if you have ever entered a plea and sentenced to any of the offenses listed below (even if the court withheld adjudication) you cannot have your record sealed.
NOTE: If your case was dismissed before it went to trial, the you might be able to have your record expunged.
Disqualifying Criminal Offenses:
- Sexual misconduct with a developmentally disabled person (§393.135);
- Sexual misconduct with a mentally ill person (§394.4593);
- Luring or enticing a child or minor ( §787.025);
- Sexual Battery (§794);
- Procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution ( §796.03);
- Committed a Lewd or lascivious act on or in the presence of a child under 16 ( §800.04);
- Voyeurism (§810.14);
- Scheme to Defraud (§817.034);
- Committed a Lewd or Lascivious act on or in the presence of elderly or disabled person (§825.1025);
- Sexual performance by a child (§827.071);
- Offenses by public employees or officials (§839);
- Exposing obscene material to a minor (§847.0133);
- Computer pornography (§847.0135);
- Selling or buying of minors for pornography usage (§847.0145);
- Trafficking a controlled substance; including trafficking cannabis (§893.135);
- Engaging in sexual misconduct with a mentally deficient or a mentally ill person (§916.1075);
The following offenses are not eligible to be sealed after a plea is entered:
- any act of domestic violence, including domestic battery or domestic assault;
- aggravated assault;
- aggravated battery;
- misdemeanor stalking or felony aggravated stalking ;
- illegal use of explosives;
- child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
- abuse of an elderly or disabled adult (aggravated);
- aircraft piracy;
- lewd, lascivious assault in the presence of a child under 16 years;
- sexual activity with a minor older than 12 or but younger than 18 by person in familial or custodial authority;
- burglary of a dwelling;
- home invasion robbery;
- act of terrorism;
- manufacturing any substance in violation of Chapter 893; or
- attempting or attempting to conspire to commit any of the offenses listed above.
Sealing or Expunging a Juvenile Record
In some cases, juvenile arrest records are sealed or expunged automatically, without petitioning or requesting it. In these kinds of cases, the sealing or expunction of the record is not classified as a prior seal or expunge, so you can still have your adult record sealed once.
Additionally, when a juvenile enters a diversion program in exchange for dropped charges, upon completion of a successful diversion program, then the expunction of those records make an individual ineligible for for a judicial sealing or expunction. This is pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 943.059 or 943.0585. You should contact a Juvenile Defense Attorney in Tampa for information about sealing or expunging juvenile records in Florida at (813) 248-0704.
Juvenile records are stored by the Criminal Justice Information Program until the offender’s 24th birthday. On the offender’s 24th birthday the juvenile record is automatically expunged if none of the following have occurred:
Forcible Felony Exception
A person 17 to 24 is charged or convicted of a forcible felony before the juvenile record has been automatically sealed or expunged. In which case the individual’s juvenile record is merged with the adult record.
Adult Adjudication for a Forcible Felony Exception
If a minor is adjudicated as an adult for a forcible felony, the juvenile’s existing criminal record is merged with the record for adult adjudication.
Serious Juvenile Record Exception
Florida Statute Section 943.0515(1)(a) states that the Criminal Justice Information Program will store the juvenile criminal records until the offender’s 26th birthday if the juvenile is:
- habitual juvenile offender;
- serious juvenile offender;
- committed to a juvenile correctional facility; or
- committed to a juvenile prison for five years after their 21st birthday.
Adjudication Delinquent for Juvenile Offense
The juvenile records are maintained, if the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for any offense. These juvenile records are ineligible to be sealed or expunged, and will be merged with the individual’s adult record. Additionally, if the individual had ever been adjudicated delinquent in any juvenile case, then this individual becomes ineligible to seal or expunge any adult criminal record.
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