Fort Lauderdale Record Sealing & Expungement Lawyer

David Weisselberger | May 18, 2024

DO I QUALIFY?

In Florida, both arrests and criminal charges show up on your criminal record, making it difficult for you to change jobs, apply for college admissions, or to own an apartment. You can, however, clear your record with the help of a Fort Lauderdale expungement attorney. Don’t let a single mistake ruin your chance for better opportunities such as promotions, get your record expunged.

The expungement process in Florida enables those who have been found guilty of certain crimes to have their record sealed and expunged. And be given another opportunity to start again. The public can no longer access your criminal history.

Sealing & Expunging a Record in Fort Lauderdale

record sealing and expungement in florida

Record sealing and expungement are different from each other. The Florida Statue 943.045, states that the sealing of a criminal record keeps people with no legal rights to gain access to your criminal history. The court protects the sealed document from public access. As the records are kept hidden by a criminal agency, the court system under “seal” and the record is confidential.

On the other hand, expunging a record involves the destruction of the record and only the FDLE has a copy of your record. The process of expungement may involve a court hearing. Thus, a Fort Lauderdale expungement attorney can surely help you throughout the process.

Eligibility Requirements

A past arrest or conviction shouldn’t hold you back in Fort Lauderdale. Expungement offers a chance to clear your record and move forward. Here’s a breakdown of the key eligibility factors:

  • Charge Severity: Generally, misdemeanors and certain felonies qualify for expungement. However, serious felonies like violent crimes or sex offenses are typically ineligible.
  • Case Outcome: Cases dismissed, where you were acquitted, or where you completed a pre-trial diversion program are more likely to be expunged.
  • Criminal History: Having no prior convictions or arrests not already expunged increases your chances.
  • Waiting Periods: Florida law mandates waiting periods after case resolution before expungement eligibility. These vary depending on the offense (e.g., one year for misdemeanors, three years for some felonies).

Remember, these are just guidelines. Fort Lauderdale expungement laws can be complex. Consulting a qualified expungement lawyer in Florida is crucial to determine your specific eligibility and navigate the legal process effectively. They can assess your situation, advise on the best course of action, and help you achieve a clean record.

Expungement Process in Fort Lauderdale

The procedure of seal and expungement can be difficult and time-consuming. Because you will have to contact several agencies, such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office, and the court system. To get the best outcome possible, you must have an experienced fort Lauderdale expungement attorney on your side. Here’s a step by step of the process:

Expungement Process in Fort Lauderdale

Step 1: Know if your Eligible

Check the state laws to understand what types of offenses are eligible for expungement. Crimes like violent felonies, sex offenses, or multiple repeat offenses are not eligible to seal or expunge records.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale expungement attorney before you get your records expunge.

Step 2: File a Petition

If you are eligible, you need to file a petition to expunge criminal records in Fort Lauderdale with the court in the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred.

The petition usually requires your personal details, case numbers, dates of conviction, and reasons for requesting expungement.

You might also need to provide a copy of your criminal record or court documents to support your application.

Step 3: Pay for the Filing Fees

In many cases, you will need to pay a filing fee when submitting your petition. FDLE application fee usually costs $75.

Step 4: Notify the important people

Depending on the case, you may need to notify the district attorney or other prosecuting authority regarding your expungement.

In some cases, there may be a waiting period to allow these parties to respond or object.

Step 5: Attend a Hearing

In some cases, the court will schedule a hearing where you may need to present your case for expungement. An expungement attorney is needed to represent you. The judge will consider any objections from prosecutors, victims, or other interested parties.

Step 6: Receive a Court Order

If your petition is granted, the court will issue an order for expungement. This order is typically sent to various agencies such as the police, FBI, or state records bureau.

If the petition is denied, you might be able to reapply after a certain period or appeal the decision.

Make sure to follow-up with the court or your lawyer to ensure that the expungement took effect. Also, make sure to keep a copy  of your expungement order for future use.

How Much Does Expungement Cost in Fort Lauderdale?

The cost of expungement in Fort Lauderdale varies depending on several factors, including attorney fees and court costs. Typically, the filing fee for an expungement petition in Florida is around $75. Attorney fees can range from $500 to $1500, based on the complexity of your case and the lawyer’s experience.

Additional costs may include obtaining necessary documents such as certified copies of court records, which can add to the overall expense. It’s essential to consult with a local expungement lawyer to get a precise estimate tailored to your specific situation and to understand all potential costs involved in the expungement process.

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Fort Lauderdale?

In Fort Lauderdale, certain crimes can be expunged from your record, allowing you a fresh start. Generally, misdemeanors and certain non-violent felonies qualify for expungement. Crimes such as petty theft, minor drug offenses, and some first-time offenses may be eligible.

However, serious crimes like sexual offenses, homicide, and certain violent felonies are not eligible for expungement. Eligibility also depends on factors like prior convictions and the successful completion of any court-ordered programs. Consulting with an experienced Fort Lauderdale expungement lawyer is crucial to determine if your specific case qualifies for expungement and to guide you through the process.

How Long Does It Take To Expunge Records in Fort Lauderdale?

The time needed on the process of expungement, the effectiveness of the court system, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) processing time are some of the factors that might affect how long it takes to erase a criminal record in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Regardless, the Fort Lauderdale expungement procedure usually takes 4-6 months to complete. However, if the prosecution objects to your petition or you the documents are incomplete, it may take longer. Thus, the need of a Fort Lauderdale expungement attorney arises. You could have to wait longer if your petition is rejected since you would have to file an appeal or reapply.

Expunging Your Records in other Cities/Counties of Florida

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  • It was a great experience working with David on a previous case. He really goes above and beyond and provides great service. He was able to get everything done in less than 4 months at a very reasonable price. His current payment plan, Pay Later is a great option!
    David Gonzalez
  • This is one of the best choices I have made in my life. I feel like life has truly given me a second chance from my past mistakes. I chose Erase The Case because of the reviews and now I want to make sure I pass on this experience so that some other people can trust this company....
    Sanchez
  • one month ago
    Florida Expungement Attorney of the Year!! Great service… The best part is I didn't have to do anything except the online video call which took less than 5 minutes to get the notarized papers!! David took care of everything...
    Brian Diaz-Fernandez
  • Great experience with this law firm!! David was very helpful throughout the entire process from start to finish. Explained everything in detail with constant communication. Fully recommend to anyone looking for this service or information.
    Chaim cohen
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