Expungement Lawyer Miami
If you’ve been arrested for a crime, your criminal history can follow you around for the rest of your life. One mistake or misunderstanding as a young adult can lead to a lifetime of negative assumptions about your character. Even if you were never convicted or the charges were dropped, your arrest history could be a bar to employment and educational opportunities.
Miami criminal defense attorney Jonathan Blecher recognizes the importance of having a fresh start after a criminal arrest. That’s why he offers expungement services to individuals who qualify. If you need an expungement lawyer in Miami, call Attorney Blecher today.
The Difference Between Sealing and Expungement of Criminal Charges
While many individuals use the terms “sealing” and “expunging” interchangeably, they have different meanings.
Sealing a record means that a charge on a criminal record is not available to the general public. Government agencies are still able to access the record if they otherwise have access to the person’s criminal history.
This is the court-ordered destruction of a portion of the criminal record. It is as though the arrest never occurred. However, it is unlawful to deny the arrest occurred if:
● You are trying to change your immigration status.
● You are a defendant in another criminal case.
● You are trying to be hired for certain government jobs.
● You are seeking admission to the Florida Bar or obtain a health care license.
● You’re trying to gain access to a seaport.
● You’re applying for a teaching certificate.
Because expungement completely erases the history of the arrest, the qualifications for expungement are more rigorous than for record-sealing.
What Qualifies for Expungement in Florida?
To qualify for expungement, you may not have been convicted of the crime for which you’re seeking expungement. Additionally, expungement only works one time. If you’re later arrested for other crimes, you cannot seek expungement again. There are many reasons why the courts may deny expungement:
● If you were convicted of the crime in question, the courts will not expunge your record.
● If you’ve previously had a record sealed or expunged, you cannot get an additional expungement, though an out-of-state expungement won’t prevent one in Florida.
● If you were charged with one of the enumerated crimes in Florida State Statute 947.01, the court will not grant an expungement. These include serious felonies, such as arson, homicide, robbery, burglary, and domestic crimes. This is not a comprehensive list, and there are many additional crimes that are barred from expungement.
The Expungement Process in Miami, FL
The expungement process can be complicated and time-consuming, which is why so many people use a Miami expungement attorney for their best chance of success.
1. Application for a Certificate of Eligibility
This applies to both expungement and record sealing. The petitioner must obtain a certificate from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The applicant must complete the paperwork and sign it before a notary public. This part of the process can take a few days.
2. Certified Disposition of Charges
You will have to show how the result of your arrest by obtaining a certified disposition of charges for each individual offense from the Miami-Dade Clerk of the Court. This process can take three to four weeks.
3. State Attorney Application Approval
To get an expungement, the State Attorney must approve your certification and complete the written certified statement page. This step can take three weeks or longer.
4. Processing by the FDLE
The FDLE will review your application and paperwork for expungement. This is the longest step in the process, and it can take as long as six or seven months. If they approve your application, they will issue you the Certificate of Eligibility.
5. Petition the Courts
Your criminal defense attorney will present all paperwork to the court. If the court orders the expungement of your records, the only copy that will remain of your arrest will be with the FDLE. This can take up to two more weeks.
Because expungement is a long process, most applicants hire an expungement lawyer in Miami to handle each phase of the paperwork. Contact criminal defense attorney Jonathan Blecher to handle your expungement process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Expungement in Miami
Most people who are seeking expungement are nervous about the process. After all, this may be their only chance to truly erase the record of a police mistake or one of their own. If you are considering expungement in Miami, FL, contact Jonathan Blecher to discuss the details of your arrest.
Do I need a lawyer to expunge my record in Florida?
Yes. While it is possible to expunge your criminal record successfully, it’s easy to make errors that could cause you to restart the process or result in a denial. An attorney who is familiar with expungements in Florida will ensure that all aspects of your paperwork are in order. Additionally, their relationship with the local state attorneys is a benefit when it comes to getting a written, certified statement.
How long does expungement take in Florida?
Because your expungement paperwork must go through different areas of the criminal justice system before it’s presented to the court, the process can take almost a year. This is why most applicants hire an attorney to handle the process.
Can I seek a government job after expungement?
Yes, but it’s important to note that you are required to disclose arrests on your job application. Additionally, if the government agency has/had access to the sealed record, they would be informed that you have had a record expunged, even if they can’t view the documentation.
Will expungement erase all records of my arrest?
Not necessarily. Private entities with information about your arrest or not affected by the expungement. For instance, if your arrest was published by the news media, the story of your arrest may still exist in the archives, and it may show up in internet searches.
Record Expungement Lawyer in Miami, FL
You may be eligible for expungement if you were arrested in Miami-Dade but not convicted. Contact Jonathan Blecher to discuss your case.