IfI am a convicted felon, can my record be expunged or sealed?

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IfI am a convicted felon, can my record be expunged or sealed?

In 1999 I was charged with possession (cocaine residue), and paraphernalia (mirror and straw). I fled the country out of fear of jail, and consequently the failure to appear in court charge was added. I pled no contest. I completed the court required 2 years probation and rehab. Adjudication was withheld. In 2011, I pled no contest again to a simple battery charge, and also obstruction of justice without violence. How, if possible, can I remove these charges off my record?

Asked on April 8, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In Florida, you have the ability to either seal your record (restricted access) or expunge it (erase). But of course, this all depends on your eligibility to do either and in most states, a conviction for any felony will automatically make you ineligible. There are numerous legal and social reasons for allowing expungements or sealing of records in very limited circumstances, and that is to help those who were not found guilty or who were truly rehabilitated. Likewise, to disallow such steps is to prevent career criminals from being able to disguise their criminal record and possibly commit such acts again where employment or living situations prohibit someone from the premises or employment if he or she has been convicted of specific crimes. In Florida, your eligibility of "expunction" appears to be limited solely to those acts in which you were not adjudicated guilty. At the very least, consider speaking to a criminal defense attorney in Florida who is experienced with expunction/expungement and sealing of conviction records and or arrest records. You might be able to get some sealed but I am unsure as to the success of the criminal convictions for failure to appear, and obstruction of justice.


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