Applying For Expungement
A criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life. Expungement allows you to hide your criminal arrest from the public. In fact, if you qualify for expungement, information about your arrest can only be obtained through a court order or certain government requests. At Cotton & Gates, Attorneys at Law, in Shalimar, we will explore your options for expungement. We are skilled criminal defense lawyers who provide honest and aggressive representation to individuals throughout Okaloosa County.
Who Is Eligible For Expungement?
Individuals who meet the criteria below may be eligible for expungement under Florida law:
- You were arrested but never charged with a crime.
- Your criminal charges were dismissed.
- You were found not guilty.
Dismissed criminal charges can be expunged right away as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements. Criminal charges that resulted in a not guilty verdict by trial or the withholding of adjudication must be sealed for a minimum of 10 years before you can apply for expungement.
Options For Juveniles
Juveniles have different requirements for expungement than adults. Juveniles who complete a diversion program may qualify for expungement depending on the terms of completing the program. Minors may be eligible for a juvenile diversion expunction to have their criminal record expunged sooner as long as the arrest was for a nonviolence misdemeanor offense and as long as the minor is not considered a serious or habitual offender. Strict eligibility requirements must be met. Individuals are ineligible for expungement under the following circumstances:
- The arrest was for a domestic violence charge.
- The arrest was not considered a nonviolent misdemeanor.
- The applicant was charged with an additional criminal offense.
- The application was completed a year or longer after qualifying for the diversion program.
Learn About Your Options
We will guide you through the process, answer your questions and provide the clear and confidential advice you need to protect your future. Do not wait to contact us to discuss your options. We have an easy-to-use Expungement Information Sheet that you may fill out for us to determine if you are eligible for expungement or sealing of your record. You may also call our law firm at 850-651-9900 to schedule a free consultation.