How Do I Begin to Seal My Criminal Record?

How Do I Begin to Seal My Criminal Record?

It’s tough to find a job in this economy. There is no doubt about it – if you have a Florida criminal history, your ability to get a job is even more difficult. Sealing your Florida arrest record can make an enormous difference when you are actively searching for a job in this recession. When a potential employer can’t see that you had a criminal charge, you have just hugely increased your chance of employment.

Our criminal defense attorneys always advise clients to Seal or Expunge their arrest as soon as possible because the process takes about 6 months and the laws can change at any time. A criminal charge that was eligible last year may not be eligible the next year, depending on the laws that the Florida legislature passes.

To begin the process of sealing your criminal record, you will first need to do three things:
1. Get a certified copy of the final disposition of your case from the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
2. Request or download an Application for Certification of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
3. Have your fingerprints rolled by a law enforcement agency with the fingerprint card provided by FDLE or one provided by the law enforcement agency that is rolling your prints.

Once you have the Application for Certification of Eligibility, you can begin to complete the upper portion. The basic information such as your name, address, date of birth, race, sex social security number and driver’s license number, among a few other things. It is also important to include the date of arrest and the agency that arrested you or provided you with a Notice of Appearance for your first court date. You complete the application by including the specific crime(s) you were charged with, and then signing the application in the presence of a notary. Once you complete the application you now submit it to the Office of the State Attorney for their approval before you forward it off to FDLE.

It is possible to complete the process of sealing a record without an attorney and many people successfully do. However, the process can be intimidating and confusing and our office is often contacted to assist with this task. Our record sealing attorneys can get involved at any time during this process if you get overwhelmed or no longer have the time to complete the process. We often agree to reduce our fee if you have made substantial progress towards the completion of this process. Call our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys today if you need help sealing your Florida criminal record.

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