You may be wondering how a person can have a criminal record even when their charges were dropped or dismissed. The Florida legislature decided that criminal records would be public unless they are sealed or expunged. A person acquires a "criminal history record" when they have been arrested and fingerprinted, regardless if it resulted in a conviction, an acquittal, or a dismissal of charges before trial.
What are the requirements for an expungement?
- The applicant must attest that he or she has never had a record sealed or expunged before in Florida or in another jurisdiction.
- A person can only seal or expunge one arrest record in one proceeding.
- More than one record may be sealed or expunged in the same proceeding if the arrests are directly related; however, it is at the discretion of the court.
- A record that was ineligible for expunction may be eligible only after it has been sealed for 10 years.
- You cannot seal or expunge one arrest record and later on in a different proceeding, ask to have a different record sealed or expunged.
- A charge which resulted in a not guilty verdict after trial cannot be expunged until it has first been sealed for 10 years.
- You can no longer be under court supervision for the alleged criminal activity for which the petition to expunge pertains.
In order to petition to expunge a criminal history record, the individual must include in their petition a valid certificate of eligibility for expunction, and they must include a sworn statement attesting that they have never, prior to filing the petition, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense, or comparable ordinance violation, nor have they been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified under Section 943.051(3)(b).
Before a court can expunge a criminal record, the person seeking the expunction must apply for a certificate of eligibility for expunction. To obtain this certificate, the petitioner must submit to the department a written, certified statement from the appropriate state attorney or prosecutor which indicates that an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in their case.
If an indictment, information or charging document was filed or issued in the case, it must have been dismissed or nolle prosequi (meaning, unwilling to pursue) by the state attorney or state prosecutor, or it must have been dismissed by the court, and none of the charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity could have resulted in a trial.
If you need more information about getting an expungement, please contact The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger to arrange a free consultation by calling (888) 863-6427 today!