Seal and Expunge Arrest Record
– by Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney, Daniel J. Fernandez
If you have been arrested for a state of Florida offense you may be entitled to seal and expunge the arrest record if you qualify.
The sealing of a criminal history is governed by section 943.059 of the Florida Statutes, and Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.692(a)(1).
The requirement are:
- Has never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).
- Has not been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.
- Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, s. 943.0585, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058.
If a petitioner satisfies the requirements of section 943.059 and Rule 3.692(a)(1), the petitioner is presumptively entitled to an order to seal or expunge court records. While the decision to seal a record is in the trial judge’s sole discretion, the exercise of discretion requires good reason based on the facts and circumstances of the petitioner’s individual case.
A court may not deny a petition to seal a criminal record based solely upon its consideration of the facts as outlined in the probable cause affidavit. Rather, the court must consider the facts actually established in the petitioner’s case.
Where a petitioner seeks to have his criminal record sealed and meets all the requirements of section 943.059, Florida Statutes, the trial court may, in its discretion, deny relief, but only after holding an evidentiary hearing and providing a sound reason based on the facts and circumstances of the petitioner’s case.
Because a petitioner who satisfies the statutory prerequisites for sealing of records is presumptively entitled to an order to expunge or seal, a petitioner is likewise entitled to a meaningful review of a denial.
If you have been charged with a State of Florida offense you may be entitled to seal and expunge the arrest record if you qualify. Criminal defense attorney Daniel J. Fernandez can help guide you through the process.
A trial court should have a specific factual basis to support a denial of a petition to seal and expunge. And the State should present evidence at a hearing to refute a petitioner’s sufficient allegations and cannot merely object to the expungement. Contact a criminal defense lawyer and request an assessment and if you qualify, you may file a petition to seal and expunge. Our firm has represented clients in seal and expunge matters. Many of these petitions have resulted in sealing and expunging arrest records.
If you have been arrested for a State of Florida offense in the Tampa Bay area and would like to find out if you qualify to seal and expunge your arrest record, call Tampa criminal defense lawyer Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now.
Call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney, Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353 or read more at: CriminalDefenseLawyerTampa.com
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