SEALING AND EXPUNGING
Your criminal history record
If the case against you is dropped or dismissed and you have not been previously found guilty of a crime, you may be eligible to have your record expunged. If your record is expunged, then it is destroyed.
If your case was not dropped or dismissed but the judge withheld adjudication and you have not previously been convicted of a crime, then you may be eligible to have your case sealed. If the case is sealed, then access to the record is sealed-off from the general public, but the record is not destroyed.
Despite what many people think, your case record does not disappear automatically after a certain amount of time passes. Sealing or expunging your record requires a court order. First, you must complete an application process and obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After obtaining a certificate, you must file a legally valid affidavit and a petition with the clerk of courts. Even though you may be eligible to have your records sealed or expunged, the court may still choose to hold a hearing where you must argue why your records should be sealed or expunged. It is beneficial to have an experienced attorney to walk you through the process and ensure that each step is completed correctly. If the process is not precisely followed, the petition will be denied.
Contact the Ford Law Office to find out if you are eligible to have your record sealed or expunged.