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If you were convicted of grand theft and that was your only conviction is it possible to have it expunge or sealed?

New Port Richey, FL |

I worked at home depot and made a bad choice of taking money out the register and was convicted of grand theft. I wanted to know once all my fees and probation is completed would i be able to file for expungement or sealing?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. That depends whether the court adjudicated you guilty or convicted you or withheld adjudication. If the latter is true, you can seal this record after you complete probation successfully. If not, and you were convicted, this arrest record will stay with you. Contact a lawyer to understand your options. Best of luck to you.


  2. If you were adjudicated guilty then you would NOT be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged. If you received a with-hold of adjudication then you may be eligible to have your record sealed.


  3. If you got a withhold of adjudication you can have it sealed.
    If you were adjudicated guilty it's permanent.
    If the charges were dropped or you were acquitted you can have it expunged. Good luck.


  4. Sealing is available in a case where you received a withhold of adjudication, and expunction is available in a case which was dismissed, nolle pros'd, no actioned or where you were found to have been not guilty. In Florida you can only seal or expunge one eligible (non-disqualified) offense in your lifetime.

    If you look at the following website you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the sealing / expunction process:

    http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/content/getdoc/c83dd888-ef7a-448e-9a96-ba69fc4181f7/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx

    The procedure is both quite detailed and somewhat painstaking but is also far from being rocket science. You can attempt to navigate it yourself (FDLE has tried to simplify it - again I refer you to the website above) but, assuming your eligibility, any criminal defense lawyer (anywhere in Florida - this can be done remotely and does not necessarily require a local attorney, although a local attorney may or may not be less expensive) will be able to accomplish the task with greater ease and likely in a shorter time period.

    That said I suspect that it doesn't much matter where you were arrested, what you were arrested for, what the final disposition was or whether or not you sealed / expunged the record. This is 2013 and we are forehead deep into the internet age, where nothing is private, sacred or truly hidden from public scrutiny.

    Sadly, sealing (and expunging) only applies to certain (not even to all) government agencies and has no effect whatsoever on private (er, extortionist) enterprise, who compile and maintain arrest information and then demand that you pay them off to remove your information from their database and public access. Worse still, after you "buy back your information", then you can count on there being another private company lurking, somewhere, sometime, somehow, just waiting for you to pay them off as well. Its a seemingly never-ending vicious cycle.

    For better or for worse you are probably best advised to take the wind out of the sails by admitting your past issues / indiscretions to your present (or potential) employer, landlord, etcetera, rather than waiting for them to find out on their own.

    I hope that this has been helpful and wish you the best of luck!

    First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)


  5. It all depends on what the definition of a conviction was in your case. If adjudication was withheld, you may be able to seal your case if you have never sealed before, and you have never been adjudicated guilty of a crime or comparable ordinance violation.

    My recommendation is that you see a criminal defense attorney to make this determination and retain The attorney to process the entire petition to seal, which may be complicated unless you do it through an attorney.

    The information provided is not legal advice from Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes, or the Ticket Law Center in Miami, Florida. There is no attorney client privilege created in this communication. Do not send questions which are confidential in nature by either this venue or via email. Personal questions should be asked in person or via telephonic conference only. You should only ask theoretical questions of a general nature.

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