A criminal record can have a negative impact on a convicted person’s life. They may not be aware that there is a legal process called expungement that allows their criminal record to effectively be removed, limiting the negative consequences of the past conviction.
The expungement process
In Florida, there are several steps in the expungement process. The convicted person must determine whether they are eligible for the program. Eligibility usually depends on the nature of the offense, prior criminal history and the status of the current case. A minor offense or a first-time offense may be more likely to qualify for expungement.
To apply for expungement, the person needs to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility and provide copies of their current criminal record, fingerprints, and other required documents. They may also have to pay a filing fee. Once this is complete, they can petition the court for expungement.
The court may hold a hearing to review the petition, where the judge will review evidence about why the record should be expunged. If the court grants the expungement, it will issue an order to seal the records. It may also be necessary to notify law enforcement agencies or other departments who have a record of the arrest or conviction, so they are aware of the expungement.
There are several benefits to expungement. The expunged records will be hidden from public view which means that employers or landlords cannot access information about the conviction through public records.
It also allows the convicted person to regain certain civil rights, like voting, and can give them a fresh start. There is help available for this process.