Can I expunge my record in Florida?
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Expungement is a great option to get a fresh start after being arrested in Florida. The process can last 9-12 months due to the multiple steps and long delays, as many people pursue expungement in the Sunshine State.
The first step: What is a conviction?
In Florida, a conviction is also known as an adjudication of guilt. If you've ever been adjudicated guilty of any crime in the State of Florida, then you are unfortunately ineligible for expungement. What if you want to expunge a different case than the one you were adjudicated guilty on? That one conviction makes you ineligible to expunge ANY case at all. Even a conviction which may seem to you like a small crime, many years ago, will still disqualify you today. What if the State dropped the case or did not file charges on the case that you want to expunge? Again, if you have EVER been adjudicated guilty of any crime in your life, then you are ineligible to expunge any other case, even ones that were dropped or not filed on.
If you were fortunate enough to have only resolved your cases where the Judge withheld adjudication, then this may be your lucky day. A withhold of adjudication is permitted by law in Florida, and that withhold of adjudication not only allows you to deny being convicted of that crime, it also maintains your eligibility for expungement of many crimes (after your record has been sealed for 10 years). Simply put, if the Judge withheld adjudication, you were never convicted of that crime.
The second step: How do I find out if I was adjudicated or if adjudication was withheld?
It's fairly easy these days to learn if you've been adjudicated or if adjudication was withheld. Every Clerk of Court in each county in Florida has a website that the public can search criminal cases based on name, date of birth or case number. Once you find your case, it will list the "Sentence" or "Disposition" or "Final Action." That is where you will learn whether the Judge adjudicated you guilty or withheld adjudication.
Expungements can be a complicated and long process that can be made easier by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. Seth Hyman Law ( http://www.sethhymanlaw.com ) exclusively provides legal assistance in criminal, DUI, and driving offense cases throughout Central Florida. Additionally, we handle sealing and expungements. Call 407-274-7501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.