Everyone knows what it is like to be young and make foolish decisions. Unfortunately, some of our decisions can result in permanent marks on our record. Whether it is a petty or minor offense, such as shoplifting or underage possession of alcohol, or a wrongful accusation as a result of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, criminal records can have a devastating impact on your life. Employers, volunteer agencies, and even credit companies often run background checks, and a mark on your record may make it extremely difficult for you to obtain employment or auto loans and can even prevent you from renting or purchasing a home.
Fortunately, if your unique case is minor or it is your first offense, a criminal defense attorney with the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can help you expunge your criminal records. A successful expungement yields a number of benefits and countless opportunities. Whether your case is expunged or sealed, your offense will no longer be available to the public. You have the legal right to deny previous charges, rent homes, and you may even receive a higher number of job offers. Contact the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates today for a free consultation with an experienced expungement lawyer.
How Long Does It Take To Expunge A Record?
It can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to expunge a record and there is no way to expedite the process. In most cases, individuals who wish to have their record expunged may apply for expungement once their charges are dismissed or they have successfully completed their term of probation or deferred prosecution. The sooner you sign file for an expungement, the sooner the request is processed.
What Does Expunged Mean?
Expungement is defined as the removal and/or destruction of a criminal record. In the state of Florida, you have the option of sealing a criminal record and expunging a criminal record. In limited and rare circumstances — if you decide to purchase a firearm or desire to work with young kids, for example — your record may be released. An experienced criminal attorney can help you determine which process best suits your situation.
How Does Expungement Work?
Expungement is comprised of three steps, which include the following. The process of expunging a record can be quite technical and complex to manage on your own — contact our law office for professional assistance.
1. Apply For Expungement
The primary step that you must take in the expungement process is to complete the Seal/Expunge application packet with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. You must read the application carefully, as there are many technicalities and rules. You will be required to obtain a copy of your case from the Criminal Court’s Clerk Office. Then, you should complete the fingerprint form (your local police department can help you with this) and have your signature notarized.
2. Wait For Your Certificate
Next, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will spend approximately 30 days reviewing your application and determining your eligibility. They will then send you either a letter telling you why you did not qualify, a Certificate of Eligibility to Seal your case, or a Certificate of Eligibility to Expunge your case. These certificates are only considered legitimate for up to 12 months.
3. Get Your Certificate Authorized
Take your certificate to the Criminal Court Clerk’s Office for authorization. You may be asked to pay additional fees and fill out additional paperwork. our expungement attorneys will help guide you through each step of the process and ensure every requirement is fulfilled.
What Is The Difference Between Record Sealing & Expungement?
Expungement destroys a criminal record completely. If the charges in your case did not make it to trial or were dropped by the judge or state, you may be eligible to apply for an expungement. The expungement process removes criminal records from all databases as if they never existed. Expungement is ideal for people with minor offenses looking to make major decisions in their life. If you're wondering how to get a misdemeanor expunged in Gainesville, simply contact us to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Violent crimes, such as arson, homicide, terrorism, kidnapping, and sexual crimes are not eligible for expungement.
Sealing refers to the process of removing a criminal record from the access of the public. This means that when companies and employers run background checks, they will not be able to see any offenses. However, the criminal records are still available to certain individuals. People with appropriate clearance, such as court offices and law enforcement offices, will still be able to view the criminal record. If you pleaded guilty to a charge and were not convicted — withhold of adjudication — or if you pleaded guilty or no contest to the charges, you may be eligible to apply for record sealing.