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how long does a felony stay on your record

How long does a felony stay on your record in Florida?

Unfortunately, a Florida felony conviction will remain on your record for life, except for certain very unusual circumstances.

Not every felony charge results in a conviction, however. The following is a review of the ins and outs of dealing with a Florida felony charge.

Possible Consequences of Failure to Expunge a Felony From Your Record: Why You Need an Expungement

Should you remove a felony from your record if possible? Absolutely YES. Following is a list of the disadvantages you might face otherwise:

  • Loss of the right to vote;
  • Loss of the right to carry a firearm;
  • Inability to obtain a professional license (to practice law or medicine, for example);
  • Limitations on your ability to obtain employment;
  • Inability to qualify for a lease;
  • Difficulty traveling internationally;
  • Difficulty obtaining credit cards or loans, including student loans;
  • Denial of admission to a university; and
  • Problems in your social life and love life. Lovers and fiancees perform background checks too.

A full list of the disadvantages of a felony conviction would be too long to provide here. But as you can see, the drawbacks are considerable.

Florida Felony Convictions

A conviction is the most serious resolution of a felony charge. There are two ways to become eligible to expunge a Florida felony from your record after you plead guilty or suffer a conviction at trial.

  • You can receive a pardon from the President of the United States. This applies to federal offenses only—even the President cannot pardon a state felony conviction.
  • You receive a full pardon from the Governor of Florida. It must be a full pardon, however. Mere clemency would leave the felony on your record.
  • The judge withholds the conviction even after a trial finds you guilty. This is called “withholding of adjudication”, and it is an extraordinary remedy.

The sad fact is that very, very few people receive pardons.

What if a Judge Withholds Adjudication?

Florida Statute s. 948.01(b)(2) allows a criminal court judge to withhold the adjudication of guilt against you if the interests of justice so require. In many such cases, the court will place you on probation.

When this happens, expungement or sealing of the criminal record may be possible once your sentence has been completed, depending on the charge and your own criminal history.  

For example, many violent felony charges can never be sealed or expunged, even if the judge agrees to withhold adjudication. 

In addition, you are also ineligible for expungement or sealing if you have ever had anything expunged or sealed before.  You are also ineligible if you have any previous adult convictions of  any kind (felony or misdemeanor), regardless of whether in Florida or not.

Even if you are never convicted, your record of a felony charge (not a conviction) will remain public unless you take action. This is a process that can take many months to complete, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will finish.

Consult with a Florida criminal lawyer at OrlandoDefense.com today to learn the nuances of how Florida law applies to your particular case.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record If You are Charged But Never Convicted?

Would you hire someone with a voluntary manslaughter charge on their record, even with no conviction?

Most employers wouldn’t, even if the applicant was actually innocent of the charge. This is how a mere accusation (followed by a formal criminal charge) can follow you around for the rest of your life even if you didn’t commit the crime.

Many (but not all) people who have felony charges but not convictions on their record qualify to have the record of the criminal charge either destroyed (expungement) or hidden from the view of everyone except public officials (sealed).

The application process is the same either way.  Unfortunately, in Florida your application will be rejected if:

  • You have a previous criminal conviction; or
  • You were previously granted a sealing or expungement; or
  • You have had adjudication withheld for certain violent or sex crimes; or
  • You have another sealing or expungement application pending; or
  • You currently have an open criminal case; or
  • You have not yet completed the court supervision for the charge you wish to have sealed or expunged (you are still on probation, for example).

Contact Florida Expungement Lawyer Jeffery Higgins Today

Orlando Defense is led by attorney Jeffery Higgins, pure and simple. Jeffery enjoys almost a quarter or a century of successful experience in representing criminal defendants and clients seeking expungements, and he has familiar relationships with local judges and prosecutors.

Call OrlandoDefense.com at (407) 616-1432 or contact us online for a free consultation by phone or at one of our nine offices. Se habla Español!

Author Photo

Jeff Higgins

Jeff began his career as an assistant public defender in Lake County, Florida. Jeff works to make sure that his clients understand the legal process, understand their rights, and fully understand their choices before making any decisions about their case.

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