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St. Petersburg, Florida

Expungements Lawyers

St Petersburg florida expungement lawyers - Fletcher & Fletcher

A criminal record can follow you long after you’ve completed your original sentence. It can stand in the way of future employment opportunities, housing, and smooth reintegration into society.

Expungement allows you to legally remove past arrests from your criminal record. Having past offenses expunged or sealed means you can restart your life and move forward without stigma.

At Fletcher & Fletcher, we’ll walk you through every step of the process, from filing your application to petitioning the court.

“It was a pleasure working with Rick Fletcher. He is very dedicated to his job and went above and beyond. I can’t thank him enough for all that he has done.”

~ Angela B.

Criminal Record Expungement in Florida

According to Florida law, an expungement allows people to destroy records of past arrests, which means you are not required to disclose them in interviews or other evaluations.

You can only expunge a record if the case was dismissed or dropped (including pretrial intervention), or if sufficient time has passed after having successfully sealed a record.

Depending on the crime charged, you can also seal a withhold of adjudication after you’ve completed your sentence.

Having one’s record sealed or expunged comes with many benefits. Here are a few of them:

  • Future background checks for housing or employment will not include your criminal history.
  • You will retain professional certificates that would otherwise be at risk with a record of criminal activity.
  • Your credit rating may improve, depending on the circumstances of your previous record.
  • You can legally deny that you’ve been arrested or convicted of the crime on rental and job applications.

The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record

In Florida, you can apply to have your record sealed or expunged. The circumstances of your past conviction or arrest will inform whether it is more pertinent to petition for a sealed or an expunged record.

Sealing a record means that the information in question cannot be accessed without a court order. The charging information remains within the Criminal Information Justice System. It does not appear on criminal background checks, and after it has been sealed for 10 years you have the right to ask for it to be expunged.

Expunging a record means that the record itself is destroyed. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will keep a single copy, and the record will not remain in the Criminal Justice Information System.

One exception to limited access to expunged records is in the criminal justice field. If you apply to work in criminal justice, you do have to mention previous arrests and convictions, even if expunged.

How to get your record expunged in Florida

Getting a record expunged is a long process, and it is difficult to navigate alone.

St Petersburg florida expungement lawyers - Fletcher & Fletcher

Here is the overall process in Florida:

  • File an application for the certificate of eligibility with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • If approved, wait a few months (in some cases, a few weeks) to receive a certificate of eligibility for the sealing or expungement process.
  • Petition the court that had jurisdiction over the original charge that you are asking to seal or expunge.

In order for the initial application and the final petition to be approved, the initial charges must have been dropped, dismissed, or resulted in acquittal. You must also meet other specific criteria, which can include having no other pending sealed or expunged petitions, having no previous adjudications of guilt for criminal offenses, and other complicated requirements.

Petitioning for an expunged record is time-consuming and complex, which is why it is imperative to go into it with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Contact Fletcher & Fletcher Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

Without experienced legal guidance, it’s easy to get lost in the details of the expungement process in Florida. At Fletcher & Fletcher, we’re here to lead you through the entire process and help you get your life back in order.

We have dedicated our careers to defending those accused of crimes in St. Petersburg and throughout Florida.

Contact our firm today to get started working with us on your case.

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