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Can Criminal Charges Be Sealed in Florida?

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Can Criminal Charges Be Sealed in Florida?

Having spent time in prison is bad enough, but the road back to life in society is not an easy one either. On the contrary, it’s a process that can be difficult and long. Besides reuniting with family, finding a job, and learning all the subtle and not so subtle ways in which you can integrate into society, you need to learn many of the intricacies of the legal system in order for your life to get as back to “normal” as possible.

Removing Stigma and Having a Fresh Start

If you were found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor, you will want to remove any barriers that may prevent you from finding a job, getting an education, finding a place to live, or simply for any other reasons. An important step you will want to undertake is to have your records sealed and expunged, making them invisible from the public record.

What Is the Difference Between Having Your Record Sealed or Having it Expunged?

Having your criminal record sealed means that the record will be removed from public view, but it is still there, just hidden. Expungement, on the other hand, means the absolute and total deletion of your charges from your record. If you can get your record sealed and expunged you can be sure that it will no longer appear on most background checks.

How Are These Cases Handled in Florida?

In the State of Florida, any arrest creates a record. This means that even if you have been wrongfully arrested or if law enforcement has made a mistake, the record will still be there, and will remain intact until you request that it be sealed or expunged.
As of October of 2019, if charges were not filed or they were either dropped or dismissed before a trial took place, the number of administrative sealings per person is unlimited. Otherwise, you can only request to have your records sealed or expunged only once.

How Long Does it Take to Have Your Records Sealed or Expunged in Florida?

Having records sealed or expunged in the State of Florida, on average, takes between 5 and 7 months, although some cases take much longer. If you find someone who promises to have them sealed or expunged much sooner than that, you should be aware that this is not possible since there is no such thing as an expedited or rush procedure to achieve this.

What Factors Affect the Length of Time it Takes for Records to Be Sealed or Expunged?

Among many of the factors that play a role in the length of this process you may find:
• If you only want an expungement, it depends on how fast the state attorney signs off on the disposition of your case.
• The county where your case is in also makes a difference
• How fast the Florida Department of Law Enforcement grants the certificate of eligibility
• Whether you are looking to have your records sealed, expunged or both

Are You Suffering Because of the Limitations Imposed on You by the Fact You Have a Criminal Record?

If you want to find out if you qualify to have your record sealed or expunged, your lawyer can help you navigate the intricacies of the legal system and guide you through the process of having your records sealed and expunged. Get more information at

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