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Can You Expunge Your Theft Case in Florida? | Legal Advice for Handling Criminal Records

Your history does not have to hold you back from achieving your goals. Even though the state has withdrawn or dropped your criminal charges in Florida, a record of your arrest remains and can be viewed by practically anyone, including prospective employers, tertiary institutions, and the general public, until you expunge or seal the criminal record.

Should you meet f you meet the requirements, Florida law permits people to have their criminal record expunged in Florida for a single incident. If you were involved in a theft case, you might be wondering whether this criminal history record can be sealed or expunged. Here is everything you need to know.

Having a Criminal Record Expunged Versus Having It Sealed

Both the procedural criteria and the outcome are incredibly similar when it comes to expungement and sealing. The goal of expunging or sealing a record is to restrict the public from viewing all documents associated with the record in question.

lawyer signing legal documents

An Expunged Criminal Record

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will retain a highly classified record for incredibly limited uses after an expungement, but even a criminal justice agency that can ordinarily view anything in the criminal justice system will receive notification that the person's criminal arrest record has been erased or expunged. When you expunge criminal records, the state attorney drops the charges and destroys the record.

Sealing a Criminal History Record

The process of sealing differs from expungement in that it does not remove or destroy the criminal record but places it under the government's protection, ensuring that it is kept confidential. The record is not open to the public, but it will be available to the courts and any state or federal agency in the criminal justice information system.

Sealing a criminal record is defined as the preservation of a document under such conditions that it is inaccessible to any entity or individual who does not have a legal right to access the information according to state law.

You may be able to have your record sealed or expunged if you have been accused of or detained for an offense but have not been found guilty.

What Criminal Offense Cannot Be Expunged or Sealed?

According to Florida law, you are unable to have a criminal history expunged or sealed if you accepted a guilty or no contest plea to any of the following criminal charges:

  • Aircraft piracy
  • Theft or burglary
  • Arson
  • Battery
  • Sexual Battery
  • Assault
  • Carjacking
  • Child Abuse
  • Sexual abuse of a child
  • Communications fraud act violations
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug trafficking
  • Abuse of the elderly
  • Illegal use of explosives
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewd or lascivious acts on children or the elderly
  • Manslaughter
  • Obscenity
  • Prostitution
  • Public employee offenses
  • Robbery and home invasion
  • Stalking
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Terrorism
  • Voyeurism

Moreover, if you have an adjudicated guilty charge, you will not be eligible to have your theft records expunged. However, suppose you were accused or detained for these crimes, but the charges were subsequently dismissed, dropped, or abandoned. In that case, you could still be allowed to have your records erased.

Can You Expunge Your Theft Case in Florida?

The answer to this question is that it depends. One of the following outcomes is required for your theft case to be eligible for expungement:

  • No action was taken - which indicates that no charges were filed after your arrest
  • Your charges were dismissed - charges were initially filed, but they were later dropped
  • The case was acquitted - This means that a judge or jury did not find you guilty

To determine eligibility for having the record of theft expunged, you will need to speak to a criminal defense attorney who can offer formal legal advice.

Find Out How You Can Have a Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged!

Because criminal history information is accessible to the public, it can limit your opportunities for employment, education, housing, and more. However, by applying to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged, you can keep your past offenses confidential and move on with your life.

In order to do this, you will need a reliable, experienced law firm to help you navigate the relevant laws and handle the process of applying for an expungement. To find out whether you meet the eligibility criteria, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Erase the Case at 1-866-ERASE-FL!