Being arrested is embarrassing. What is even more embarrassing is when the public can see your arrest record. Imagine that you were arrested for domestic battery in Jacksonville. Your charges were dropped in Duval County. Yet, the Jacksonville battery charge still shows up on the Duval County clerk’s website. Let’s say you were arrested for Florida petit theft at the Orange Park Mall. You are applying for a job in Clay County and your potential employer sees that you were arrested for theft. Even though you were not convicted of the crime, the Florida petit theft arrest still appears on your record. What if you were given a criminal citation for possession of drug paraphernalia while you were at Flagler College? You are graduating from college soon and will be looking for jobs. You do not want a St. Johns County background check to reveal this one blemish in your past. You should consider expunging or sealing your criminal record. Whether or not you can seal or expunge your Florida record will depend on a variety of factors. A Jacksonville criminal lawyer with experience in the field can help you with this.
One of the things that your Jacksonville criminal attorney will need to acquire is a certificate of eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Without this, you cannot seal or expunge your criminal record. The FDLE lists the reasons that a certificate of eligibility may be denied:
- The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation. If applicable, that you have been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s.943.051(3)b. Certain driving violations are classified as criminal, such as DUI, reckless driving, and (with some exceptions) driving while license is suspended/canceled/revoked.
- The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing one or more of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains.
- The criminal history record reflects that you have received a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under s.943.0585, s.943.059, former s.893.14, former s.901.33 or former s.943.058.
- The criminal history record to which the application pertains relates to a violation of s.393.135, s.394.4593, s.787.025, chapter 794, s.796.03, s.800.04, s.810.14, s.817.034, s.825.1025, s.827.071, chapter 839, s.847.0133, s.847.0135, s.847.0145, s.893.135, s.916.1075 a violation enumerated in s.907.041, or a violation of any offense qualifying for registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435, F.S., with a finding of guilt, or a plea or guilty or nolo contendre (without regard to whether adjudication was withheld).
- The criminal history record reflects that you have another petition to seal or expunge pending before a court or competent jurisdiction.
- The criminal history record reflects that the court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains has not been completed.
If you want to expunge your Florida record, there are additional requirements. You will not be eligible for a certificate of eligibility if your “criminal history record reflects that some or all of the charges related to the arrest or criminal activity to which [your] application pertains were not dismissed prior to trial, adjudication, or the withholding of adjudication. If no other disqualification applies, the record would be eligible to be sealed.”