I pleaded no contest to Aggravated Battery but was not convicted. Can I get this record sealed or expunged?

It is really critical that an accused make absolutely sure that the charges they plan to enter a “no contest” plea for are charges that can be sealed or expunged.

I received a call last week from a very upset man who told me that his lawyer advised him that because he was not being “adjudicated” guilty, that he could get his case sealed and expunged after completing his probation. This statement is generally true. However, there are a group of offenses that cannot be sealed or expunged no matter what unless the defendant was acquitted. Pleading “no contest” and having an adjudication of guilt withheld doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, for this individual, aggravated battery is an offense that is excluded from eligibility.

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I won my case and want to get my arrest record cleaned up. How long does it take to get my record expunged?

There are a few steps that need to be taken in order to get a case expunged. First, the State Attorney needs to approve the application, then the Florida Department of Law Enforcement needs to conduct a background check to confirm eligibility. Once FDLE approves, the Certificate of Eligibility needs to be filed with the court as an attachment to a motion for expungement. If your attorney knows what he’s doing, it shouldn’t take more than six to nine months to get the job done.

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My case was dismissed. Why do I have a criminal history record?

Under Florida law, all criminal history records are open to the public unless the record is sealed or expunged. Florida statute section 943.045(4) defines what is considered “criminal history information.” Section 943.045(4) says:

“Criminal history information” means information collected by criminal justice agencies on persons, which information consists of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, information, or other formal criminal charges and the disposition thereof. The term does not include identification information, such as fingerprint records, if the information does not indicate involvement of the person in the criminal justice system.

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I have been arrested more than once. How many cases can I get sealed or expunged?

In order for someone to meet the eligibility requirements to have a record sealed or expunged, the applicant must be able to swear under oath that he or she has never previously had a record sealed or expunged in Florida or elsewhere. A person can only seal or expunge one arrest record in one proceeding. More than one case can be sealed or expunged in the same proceeding if the court finds that the arrests to be directly related.

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What is the difference between getting a criminal history record sealed as opposed to expunged?

Once a criminal history record is sealed, the public will not get access to it. Certain governmental agencies have access to sealed record information in its entirety.

After a record has been expunged, those governmental agencies that had access to a sealed record will be informed that the record has been expunged, and would no longer have access to the record without a court order.

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I was charged with DUI and beat the case. I was told that a DUI case cannot be sealed or expunged. Is that true?

Yes and no. Anyone who is found guilty of DUI cannot get their record sealed or expunged. Only qualifying cases where adjudication of guilt has been withheld are eligible to be sealed. For example, let’s say you were arrested for DUI, but the charges were reduced to Reckless Driving and adjudication of guilt was withheld, you can get the case sealed. After 10 years, the sealed case automatically gets expunged by operation of law. If you were found not guilty of the DUI and all of the accompanying charges, you are eligible to get the record expunged right away without having to wait for 10 years.

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