Do Your Criminal Records Go Away?
Leaving your criminal case in the past is more difficult than it sounds. If you get arrested but later get the charges dropped because of insufficient evidence or after you have completed a pretrial diversion program such as drug court, this might be all the motivation you need to live your life in such a way that you never have to hear the Miranda warnings addressed to you or see the inside of a jail cell again. In some cases, though, the record of your arrest remains visible on background checks, even if you did not get convicted. It is possible to erase some arrest records that did not result in convictions, but Florida law requires felony convictions to stay on your record permanently. Therefore, if you are facing criminal charges, it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer who will be diligent about researching and presenting the case for dropping your charges or acquitting you. To increase your chances of getting an eligible arrest record expunged, contact a West Palm Beach expungement lawyer.
Records That Go Away on Their Own
Unless you are charged as an adult, every arrest that occurs before your 18th birthday eventually disappears from your record without you having to take any actions to expunge or seal it. This is true even if you were adjudicated delinquent, which is the juvenile equivalent of pleading guilty or getting convicted. The length of time it takes for the juvenile record to disappear varies from one offense to another. You have the right to have a juvenile record expunged or sealed earlier than it would ordinarily disappear. Some people do this because they are worried that the arrest record will harm their chances of being accepted to universities and jobs.
Expungement and Sealing of Arrest Records
Florida law gives you the right to expunge or seal one arrest record from an arrest that occurred when you were an adult. Although the processes for expungement and sealing of records are slightly different, the practical consequences of both records are the same; the record will not appear on background checks for education, housing, or most employment. The only people who can find the record are prosecutors and judges, who will be able to find it when they research your criminal history if you get new charges and your prospective employer if you are applying for a job in law enforcement, education, or childcare. You may only expunge or seal one record in a lifetime.
Records That Cannot Be Expunged
According to Florida law, records of criminal convictions cannot be expunged. Likewise, if you have ever been convicted of a felony, you cannot expunge an arrest record unrelated to the felony case that resulted in your conviction.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.