If you’ve been arrested, convicted of a crime, or been through a criminal prosecution, it’s on your criminal record for pretty much everyone to see. If you have a criminal record, you’ve probably already run into issues caused by it.
For example, maybe you tried to get a job but were turned down because your potential employer saw your criminal record.
Even minor crimes can continue to haunt you and negatively impact your life in the form of a criminal record. Even if you were never convicted, just the fact that you were arrested and went through criminal prosecution can remain on your record and create issues. Criminal records can affect your education, professional life, housing options, social reputation, travel allowances, and much more.
You’re likely wondering: is there any way to get a criminal record cleared? The short answer is yes. Criminal records can sometimes be cleared through the processes of sealing or expungement. But sealing and expungement can be complicated processes and are not always available. Keep reading to understand your options for clearing your criminal record in the Orlando area.
Sealing and Expungement: What’s the Difference?
While expungement clears a conviction or arrest off of your record, sealing your records only gives the appearance of a clear criminal record, explains FindLaw.
- Expungement of course is the preferred option since it is permanent and completely wipes your record clean. Essentially, expungement gives you a clean slate and a fresh start by deleting your criminal record. However, expungement is more difficult to come by. Some jurisdictions do not permit expungement and some types of arrests and convictions don’t allow the option for expungement. Even if expungement will eventually be possible, sometimes you’re required to wait for a certain period of time before attempting it. In most cases, expungement allows you to legally deny that you have ever been charged with or arrested for the crime. However, expungement comes with certain exceptions that could require limited disclosure. For example, you might have to disclose your expunged criminal history if you are applying for a job with a criminal justice agency or certain state agencies such as the Department of Children and Family Services. Also, if you are attempting to be admitted to the Florida Bar, you may be asked for your expungement history.
- If you can’t achieve expungement, having your criminal record sealed is usually an attractive second best option. Having your criminal record sealed means that while your criminal record will still technically exist, the record is invisible to the public eye. A potential employer, for example, could not see a sealed criminal record in most cases. If your criminal record is sealed, no one may view it without a court order.
Are You Eligible for Sealing or Expungement?
Your eligibility depends on the state where your criminal record exists and the type of crime on your record.
According to Justia, qualifying for eligibility might depend on conditions such as:
- If sufficient time has passed since the indictment or the conclusion of your case
- If you’ve had nothing else added to your criminal record since
- You were not convicted for certain disqualifying offenses, such as serious felonies
- You have no or minimal criminal history before the crime or arrest in question
- You have completed your specific required terms of deferred disposition, probation, parole, or the sentence.
What Does The Expungement Procedure Look Like?
If you’re looking to clear your criminal record, you will need to petition for expungement. Usually, you must do this in the same court where your prosecution took place. You can only address one case at a time. Each criminal case requires a separate petition. Then a judge will review your petition and your criminal file to see if you are eligible for expungement. To ensure that you complete this process correctly and efficiently, it’s advisable to have help from a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in expungement and sealing. Donald A. Lykkebak is committed to offering you attentive and professional service at a low cost so that you can be free of your criminal record!
Get Started On Improving Your Future!
Why wait to give yourself a better future? At the Law Office of Donald A. Lykkebak, we believe in helping our clients achieve a fresh start. We believe that mistakes happen. Maybe you made a mistake that you regret. That doesn’t make you a bad person. Or maybe there was a mistake regarding your conviction or arrest and you never deserved a criminal record in the first place!
Either way, we’re here to fight for your best possible future. Get started on understanding your options for clearing your criminal record in Orlando, Florida. Contact us at 407-425-4044 or online for a free consultation!
390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2300
Orlando, FL 32801
Winter Park Office:
250 S. Park Avenue, Suite 200
Winter Park, FL 32789