What do i need to do to expunge my record if i dont have money for a lawyer

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What do i need to do to expunge my record if i dont have money for a lawyer

Asked on May 9, 2009 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable to have legal counsel.  This can be a very involved process with differing consequences.  Just so you know, many attorneys won't charge much to help you with this.  However, if money is an absolute issue, then try your local legal aid office.  They don't charge for their services if you can't afford them.  As you know first hand,  having a criminal record will negatively impact you.  I would strongly recommmend getting a lawyer to help you sort this all out. 

By the way be sure to ask about expungment and sealing of your record.  Both prodedures are available in Florida.  However, since you didn't give any details of your case I'm not certain that either remedy is available to you.

Just so you know the difference -  Sealing means a criminal arrest record is closed to public inquires, and its existence is allowed to be divulged only in limited circumstances. Sealing is available for most charges that received a withhold of adjudication or where a defendant was found not guilty at trial. Expungement means the criminal history record is physically destroyed, and can't be accessed.  The FDLE and the clerk of court still retain a copy of the expunged record, but it is inaccessible to the public.  However, an individual who has a criminal record expunged must still reveal that record in certain circumstances.  Expungement is not available if a charge resulted in a withhold of adjudication or where a trial took place, even if the defendant was found not guilty.

If you do decide to represent yourself, these are the steps that you would take: 

The expungement process is essentially four, sometimes five steps:

 

1.

Obtain the State Attorney’s approval on the petitioner’s application for a certificate of eligibility (CoE);

2.

Submit the approved application for a CoE to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);

3.

Once the FDLE issues the CoE, submit that along with several other court filings to the clerk for the judge to sign;

4.

Have a hearing on the petition to expunge criminal history records (this step is not required in every instance and varies from county to county);

5.

Have the signed order expunging the criminal history record sent to the relevant agencies and government departments who have a record of the criminal record (does not apply to civil records of the incident, such as those retained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.)

 

The sealing process is essentially three, sometimes four steps:

1.

Submit the application for a certificate of eligibility (CoE) to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);

2.

Once the FDLE issues the CoE, submit that along with several other court filings to the clerk for the judge to sign;

3.

Have a hearing on the petition to seal criminal history records (this step is not required in every instance and varies from county to county); and

4.

Have the signed order sealing the criminal history record sent to the relevant agencies and government departments who have a record of the criminal record (does not apply to civil records of the incident, such as those retained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

 
 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption