A criminal record can have serious effects on your life, both present and future. When applying for a job or a new apartment, a prospective employer or landlord will often ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime. If you have to answer yes, they could potentially shy away from hiring you or allowing you to live on their premises. However, in some cases, an individual with a record may be able to get the conviction or arrest expunged from their record.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the process of “destroying” a criminal record. In nearly every U.S. state, there is some sort of law that allows people who have an arrest or conviction record to expunge the charges from their personal record. Expunging a record may be very beneficial to those who have an arrest record or a conviction record. Once a record is expunged, it is not required that the record is disclosed—this includes potential employers, landlords, or colleges—the only agency that will have access to the record of the arrest is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Can My Record Be Expunged?
An expungement can mean a new start for those with an arrest record or conviction record, but not everyone is eligible for expungement. You are only allowed to expunge one criminal record in your lifetime so if you have already expunged a previous arrest or conviction, you cannot expunge another. You must also not be under any kind of court supervision such as probation or house arrest. Additionally, you must not have entered a guilty plea or have pleaded no contest to an offense which is ineligible to be expunged. Although certain criminal records may be expunged, there are numerous charges which disqualify an individual from expungement—some of these charges are:
- Aggravated assault/battery
- Child abuse
What is the Expungement Process?
There is a process one must go through in order to expunge a criminal record. One must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement prior to requesting the expungement and fill out an application. The application should be completed, signed, and notarized and then submitted with a non-refundable processing fee of $75. Fingerprint forms and a certified copy of the final disposition are submitted as well.
The process of expunging a record may be confusing, so it is important to seek the appropriate legal advice. The experienced legal professionals at KLG can help you through this trying time and guide you through the process.