Experienced Orlando Expungement Lawyer Helps You Get a Fresh Start
Handling all aspects of Florida record sealing, expungement and related issues
If you have ever been arrested or charged with a criminal act, the chances are you have a record that can haunt you for life, limiting your ability to secure employment, education, financing, housing and other benefits and privileges. Fortunately, there are circumstances in which Florida allows criminal files to be sealed or expunged to that they are no longer accessible to the public. The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. in Orlando has wide experience helping people clean their records, giving them a fresh start.
Seasoned counsel explains Florida law on sealing and expungement
Florida law is particularly harsh when it comes to purging criminal records. Notably, criminal convictions can never be cleared, and a prior conviction — even one from out-of-state — can permanently bar you from having a Florida criminal record sealed or expunged.
Record sealing and expungement (known as expunction in Florida) are similar but they have distinctions:
- Sealed records — When a record is sealed, it is no longer available to the public. It may not be disclosed to anyone else, including potential employers doing background checks. However, it still exists and is viewable by law enforcement and the courts.
- Expunged records —Expungement means physical destruction of your record, so that even an accidental disclosure becomes impossible. Although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLDE) retains a permanent copy, it is completely confidential.
Depending on your record, you may or may not have the ability to choose between these two alternatives. In some cases, your record might first be sealed and then expunged after 10 years, assuming you are not charged with any other crimes. Mr. Yates can help determine the availability of either remedy in your situation.
Am I eligible for record sealing or expungement in Florida?
You may be able to have your criminal record sealed if you were charged with a crime and any of these results occurred:
- You were acquitted at trial.
- The prosecutor declined to prosecute.
- The court withheld adjudication.
Charges of certain crimes, as felonies and high-level misdemeanors, are declared ineligible for this relief. Furthermore, record sealing is a one-time remedy. You are not eligible if you have ever had your records sealed or expunged before.
Expungement of records for certain crimes is available in these situations:
- You were arrested but not indicted or otherwise charged with a criminal offense.
- Your indictment or other charge was declined by the prosecution or dismissed by the court.
- You were acquitted by a judge or a verdict of not guilty was returned by a judge or jury.
As with sealing, expungement is a once-in-a-lifetime remedy. It is not available if you have ever had records sealed or expunged before.
Capable counsel assists in applications for certificates of eligibility
Your first step toward sealing or expungement is obtaining a certificate of eligibility (COE) from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Only then can you proceed in court. Applying for a COE is the most critical part of the process, since any mistake or omission may be fatal. Mr. Yates will thoroughly evaluate your case and prepare your COE application so that you have the best chance of winning the department’s approval.
Attorney advises on expungement of juvenile records
A record of involvement with the criminal justice system can be a particularly onerous burden for a young person trying to get his or her life on track. Juvenile records may be expunged by a court, by administrative process or in some cases by the successful completion of a diversionary program. The Law Offices of Mr. Yates provides effective representation for juveniles seeking a fresh start.
Talk to an experienced Florida attorney about expunction and record sealing
With 25 years of criminal practice experience, the Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. in Orlando is ready to help you confidently through the process of clearing your records. Please call 407-608-7777 or contact Mr. Yates online for a free consultation.