How Long Does A Misdemeanor Stay On Your Record in Florida?

David Weisselberger | January 6, 2024

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Navigating the legal aftermath of a misdemeanor can be a complex and often daunting process. As individuals seek to move forward from their encounters with the law, a crucial question arises: How long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in Florida? When it comes to a misdemeanor conviction, the answer in the state of Florida involves understanding the nuances of the legal system, including the possibilities of expungement or sealing for a misdemeanor charge.

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in Florida?

how long misdemeanor stays on your record in florida

Generally, a misdemeanors stays on your criminal record permanently unless you take legal action to have it sealed and expunged

Do Misdemeanors Go Away?

In Florida, misdemeanors don’t automatically disappear from your record. However, there is a process called expungement that allows you to remove misdemeanors from your public record. This can be a big help, as a criminal record can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, or even obtain a professional license.

The good news is that you may be eligible to have your Florida misdemeanor expunged if you meet certain criteria. These include:

  • Not having any prior expungements or record sealings in Florida or elsewhere.
  • Not having been found guilty of the crime you want to expunge.
  • Not having any pending criminal charges, probation, or other court-ordered supervision.

If you think you might be eligible for expungement, it’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in Florida expungement law. They can help you determine your eligibility and guide you through the expungement process.

Expungement vs Sealing

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Expungement and sealing are legal processes that restrict access to certain criminal records. Expungement removes the record from public view, while sealing restricts access to the record but does not completely destroy it. Not all misdemeanors are eligible for expungement or sealing, and the eligibility criteria may vary based on the specific offense. There are two degrees that a misdemeanor can be committed, including: 1st-degree misdemeanors and 2nd-degree misdemeanors.

>>> Read more: What Is A Misdemeanor in Florida?

It’s important to consult with an expungement attorney to understand the specific details of your case and whether you are eligible for expungement or sealing. Keep in mind that laws can change, so it’s advisable to seek legal advice from a professional who can provide information based on the most current regulations.

Does A Misdemeanor Show Up On A Background Check After 7 Years in Florida?

In Florida, misdemeanors can generally appear on a criminal background check indefinitely unless they have been expunged or sealed. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) imposes certain limitations on how long certain information, including criminal convictions, can be reported by consumer reporting agencies.

does misdemeanor show up on background check

According to the FCRA, non-conviction information (such as arrests) can be reported for up to seven years, while conviction information has no time limit and can be reported indefinitely. It’s important to note that state laws may also play a role in the reporting of criminal records, and they can vary.

If you have successfully had your misdemeanor expunged or sealed, it should not appear on a standard background check. However, certain employers or government agencies may have access to more comprehensive background checks that could reveal sealed or expunged records.

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What Are Penalties For Misdemeanors?

Misdemeanors are generally classified into different levels or classes, and the penalties for each level can vary based on the jurisdiction and the specific offense. The penalties for misdemeanors are typically less severe than those for felonies and can include fines, probation, community service, and jail time. Below is a general overview of misdemeanor classifications and potential penalties:

Class A Misdemeanors:

  • Examples: Assault, theft of property valued at a certain amount, resisting arrest.
  • Penalties: Up to 1 year in jail, fines, probation, community service.

Class B Misdemeanors:

  • Examples: Simple assault, possession of a small amount of marijuana, first-time DUI offenses.
  • Penalties: Up to 6 months in jail, fines, probation, community service.

Class C Misdemeanors:

  • Examples: Disorderly conduct, trespassing.
  • Penalties: Up to 3 months in jail, fines, probation, community service.

The mentioned penalties are general guidelines, and they can vary depending on jurisdiction. States may have different misdemeanor class systems, and within each class, penalties may be influenced by individual case circumstances and prior criminal history. Alternative sentencing options, like diversion programs or misdemeanor probation, may be offered, particularly for first-time offenders, emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration. It is crucial to consult the laws of the specific jurisdiction or seek legal advice for accurate, tailored information, as laws can change, and the provided information is a general overview.

How Misdemeanors' Life Be Impacted?

Misdemeanors can have various impacts on an individual’s life, both immediately and in the long term. The consequences can extend beyond legal penalties and may affect personal, professional, and social aspects.  Here are some ways misdemeanors can impact your life:

Employment Opportunities:

Misdemeanor convictions can affect your ability to secure certain jobs, especially those that require background checks. Employers may be concerned about your reliability and trustworthiness, depending on the nature of the offense.

Professional Licensing & Education Opportunities

Some professions and occupations require professional licenses. Misdemeanor convictions, particularly those related to dishonesty or violence, may affect your eligibility for or the renewal of professional licenses.

Certain educational institutions may consider criminal history during the admissions process. Some convictions, particularly those related to drugs or violence, may impact eligibility for financial aid.

Housing

Landlords often conduct background checks on prospective tenants. Misdemeanor convictions may make it more challenging to secure rental housing, especially in competitive rental markets.

Immigration Status & Travel Restrictions

Misdemeanor convictions, particularly those classified as “crimes of moral turpitude,” can have implications for individuals with non-U.S. citizenship. It may affect immigration status, visa applications, or lead to deportation.

Some countries have strict entry requirements, and certain misdemeanor convictions may result in denial of entry or other travel restrictions. It’s important to research the specific entry requirements of the destination country.

Personal Relationships:

Misdemeanors may strain personal relationships, as friends, family, or acquaintances may view the offense negatively. The social stigma associated with a criminal record can affect how others perceive you.

It’s crucial to seek legal advice and understand the specific consequences of a misdemeanor conviction in your jurisdiction. In some cases, legal remedies such as expungement or sealing of records may be available to mitigate the long-term impacts. Consulting with an attorney can help you navigate the legal process and explore options for minimizing the consequences of a misdemeanor.

How Do I Remove a Misdemeanor From My Record in Florida?

Can you get misdemeanor off your record? ” as you might ask once. In Florida, there are two main legal processes that may allow you to remove a misdemeanor from your record: expungement and sealing. 

How to remove a misdemeanor from a record?

>>> Read more: Can you get a misdemeanor expunged in Florida?

Expungement:

  • Definition: Expungement involves the complete removal and destruction of a criminal record. If your case qualifies for expungement, it means that the record is physically destroyed, and you can legally deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest and related court proceedings.
  • Eligibility: Generally, you may be eligible for expungement if your case was dismissed, if you were acquitted, or if you successfully completed a pretrial intervention or diversion program.
  • Process: You need to file a petition for expungement with the court where the arrest or prosecution occurred. It’s advisable to consult with an attorney to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and to guide you through the process.

>>> Read more: You can search more information of misdemeanors on here

Sealing:

  • Definition: Sealing a criminal record restricts access to it but does not result in the physical destruction of the record. Certain government entities may still have access to sealed records for specific purposes, such as law enforcement and some licensing agencies.
  • Eligibility: You may be eligible to seal your record if you were convicted but adjudication was withheld, or if you successfully completed a pretrial intervention or diversion program.
  • Process: Similar to expungement, you must file a petition to seal the record with the court. Working with an expungement attorney is recommended to navigate the legal requirements and ensure proper documentation.

It’s crucial to note that some offenses, such as certain driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, may not be eligible for expungement or sealing. Additionally, the waiting period and specific requirements can vary depending on the nature of the offense.

Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida or with us are highly recommended to determine your eligibility, understand the specific requirements, and navigate the legal process. Keep in mind that laws may change, so it’s essential to get up-to-date information from a legal professional familiar with Florida’s current regulations.

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David Weisselberger
Author | Founder
"David Weisselberger is the founder of Erase The Case. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Florida, & also his Juris Doctor from UM School of Law. Afterwards, He has been working as a former Miami-Dade County Assistant Public Defender. Also, as a solo lawyer and former associate at South Florida’s honored Saban & Solomon Law Firm. He has learned firsthand the effects people face from having a public criminal arrest record mark their lives. Therefore, David has always been working hard to help people get rid of haunting crimnal past and have a second chance in life"

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