Tama Beth Kudman is an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney with offices in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens Florida and New York City, NY. She routinely files petitions for sealing/expungement in Florida State Court.
Expungements/Sealing – An Overview
Having a criminal record or arrest record can interfere with an individual’s ability to find a job, apply for credit, and obtain housing. Regardless of the circumstances, being arrested for any reason carries a stigma that can affect individuals both in subtle and not so subtle ways.
That is why a juvenile’s crime record can be destroyed at age 24 in Florida, as long as the juvenile committed a non-violent crime, and has not re-offended. Unfortunately, adults do not enjoy the same automatic expungement of criminal or arrest records.
If you have been arrested for any reason, a record of that arrest exists and is public information, even if you:
- Had not been charged with a crime after the arrest
- had your formal charges dropped for any reason (known as a Nolle Prosequi)
- had your case dismissed by the court or were found not guilty
- or were foundguilty by a judge or jury but the court withheld the adjudication of guilt
Unless you are granted a sealing or expungement, the record of arrest remains and continues to be accessible to the public.
The Benefits of Sealing vs. Expungement
If your record is sealed, the public (including private employers) cannot view it, but most government agencies will still have access to it.
If your criminal record is expunged, not even a government agency can see it without a court order.
If your records are sealed or expunged, you are not required in many cases to disclose the arrest.
Eligibility for Sealing/Expungement
Eligibility for Expungement
If you have never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense because you were never charged (No Information), the charges against you were dropped (Nolle Prosequi), or they were dismissed by the State Attorney or a court, and you were never brought to trial for the reason you were arrested, and all other qualifications are met, you should qualify for an immediate expunction. Additionally, if you were found not guilty after trial, your record may be expunged after it has been sealed for at least 10 years.
Eligibility for Sealing
If you were found guilty of the charges against, by plea or after trial, but adjudication was withheld (you were not convicted), and you have completed any court ordered probation, the reimbursement of any court costs, and/or any restitution ordered by a judge, you are eligible for sealing.
Ineligibility for expunction or Sealing
To qualify for either expungement or sealing, you must not have had a criminal record sealed or expunged in the past, and may also not have another case pending for sealing or expunction. An individual has only one opportunity to obtain an expunction or sealing.
Further, if you have been found guilty of any criminal offense in any other jurisdiction for any felony or for certain misdemeanors, whether or not related to the charges at issue, you are ineligible to have your record sealed or expunged.
There is also an extensive list of crimes that are not eligible for expungement or sealing under Florida law.
The Importance of Experienced Legal Help
A past criminal record can prevent you from securing a job, obtaining a loan, renting a home, and can carry an unwanted stigma. If you believe that you may be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged, you should obtain experienced legal help to assist you in pursuing an expungement or sealing of your criminal record.
Tama Beth Kudman has been representing individuals a accused of committing crimes for nearly 20 years.
Contact Tama Beth Kudman, an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney today for help in pursuing an expungement or sealing of your criminal record.