Criminal Expungement and Sealing Workshop
By Mike Satz, Broward State Attorney
A criminal record may prevent a citizen from getting a job or renting a home. It can also block approval for professional certifications or special licenses. Even though a person has been cleared of a criminal allegation, or they have successfully completed a diversion program or probation and paid their debt to society, that person can still be negatively impacted by public use of such information.
So the Broward State Attorney’s Office is expanding its service to assist qualified adults who wish to expunge or seal criminal records of a single Broward case or arrest.
Our office has been helping individuals at the courthouse with this process for years. Now we are taking the application process to the adults in the community, just as we’ve done since 2007 with workshops that have helped more than 1,000 juveniles.
The State Attorney’s Office, along with the Broward Clerk of Courts, will be hosting Expungement and Sealing Workshops for adults at locations around the community. A workshop will be held on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Urban League of Broward County, 560 NW 27th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. For more information call (954) 584-0777. Please bring photo ID.
Any person who wants to know if they qualify for expungement or sealing under Florida Statute 943 should attend this workshop. Our staff will assist qualifying applicants, at no charge; prepare the paperwork necessary to obtain their Certificate of Eligibility.
To get a head start on the workshop, you can download an application from the website for the Office of the State Attorney in the 17th Circuit, or you can obtain the documents at the State Attorney’s Office at one of Broward’s four court-houses. The application will be reviewed at the workshop and a determination made as to whether the individual qualifies under Florida law and if so, whether it is for sealing or expunging the record.
The FDLE website describes its process further and also lists a number of reasons for denial, including a prior adjudication of guilt for offenses including DUI. FDLE charges a $75 processing fee that the applicant sends directly to that agency after SAO assists with completing the application.
If your circumstances are complicated or you have questions, contact the State Attorney’s Office community liaison officer, Elizabeth Honorat at (954) 831-7209.
Understand, this expungement or sealing program is only for those who qualify under Florida law. Certainly it is not for those who have committed violent crimes or who have had a prior adjudication of guilt for offenses. It was established by the State of Florida to give those who made one-time youthful missteps as juveniles or young adults an opportunity to move beyond a minor transgression and get on with their lives. I am hopeful that those who qualify for this program under the law will take advantage of it and continue on to be productive, law-biding citizens of our com-munity.