What does it mean to have a record expunged?

In previous posts, we have talked about the fact that people make mistakes and do things like drive drunk, take money and use or sell drugs. These may be isolated incidences, but these charges can define your life and your future.

However, there are situations in which you may be eligible for expungement, which could have an equally dramatic impact on your future. If you have a criminal history record, you should understand what expungement is and how and if you may qualify for this option.

Basically speaking, having your record expunged means that it is erased in the eyes of the law. If parties can access a sealed criminal record, they would only see that a record has been expunged. They wouldn’t see the details of the offense.

This can be very valuable in terms of job hunting, apartment searching and other processes that require a background check.

However, there are people and offenses that are not eligible for expungement. As stated in Florida state laws, certain sexual offenses cannot be expunged, and if you have been convicted of a crime, expungement will not be an option. Further, only one record can be expunged in a proceeding, unless the court rules otherwise.

Once you determine that you can pursue expungement, you will need to go through a very specific legal process. This involves submitting an application for a Certificate of Eligibility, filing numerous legal forms and attending a hearing.

This can be a very complicated process and many people get confused or overwhelmed by all the requirements and steps to observe. However, if you have concerns, questions or hesitations about expungement or if you feel it is something you wish to pursue, you don’t have to be intimidated by the legal system, because you don’t need to navigate it alone. Working with an attorney can help you understand our legal options and what needs to be done to seek the sealing or expunging of a criminal record.