Having a criminal record can make life challenging. It may present obstacles to employment, gaining housing or professional licensing.
Depending on the details of a criminal record, it may be possible to have the record expunged.
How do I know if my record is eligible for expungement?
Three circumstances may qualify a record for expungement.
- If charges were not filed against you after your arrest
- In cases of dismissed charges
- If a jury or judge found you not guilty of the crime
In Florida, once found guilty of any felony or misdemeanor, you do not qualify to have a criminal record expunged.
Can I have multiple crimes expunged?
Yes and no. When you apply for an expungement, you must attest that you have never had a record sealed or expunged before. However, if there are multiple charges that all relate to the same arrest, the court has the discretion to expunge the entire record or only parts of it. In other words, you can only get an expungement once in a lifetime, but the court may choose to expunge multiple related charges at one time.
Are there crimes that do not qualify?
Except in cases of dropped or dismissed charges, there are many criminal charges that are not eligible for expungement. A partial list of intelligible crimes includes aggravated assault, arson, battery, kidnapping, robbery, elder abuse, sexual battery, manslaughter, murder, stalking and acts of terrorism.
If expungement is not possible, you may be able to have your record sealed. A sealed record is not available to the public but does remain available to certain government agencies. The first step in seeking expungement is to apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.