How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in Florida? - ADA Blog

How Long Does a Misdemeanor Stay on Your Record in Florida?

by Aaron Delgado
10/21/21 (Updated: 11/04/21)

Are you facing a misdemeanor charge in the state of Florida? Have you had a charge dropped? Or, have you been convicted of a misdemeanor? If so, you may be wondering whether this charge is going to stay on your record.

There are a lot of people who believe that misdemeanors magically go away after approximately seven years. It is unclear why people believe this is the case, but criminal offenses are not like issues with your credit report. Even though there are some issues with your credit report that might go away after seven years, this is not the case with a criminal record.

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor in the State of Florida, it is going to stay on your record forever unless you are able to have the conviction overturned.

What do you need to know about misdemeanor charges, and what do you need to know about getting your record clear? Take a look at some important points below.

What Is a Misdemeanor Charge?

First, what is a misdemeanor charge? A misdemeanor charge means that you have been charged with a minor offense; however, just because you have been charged with a misdemeanor does not necessarily mean this is going to have a minor impact on your life.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, it is going to stay on your record forever. This means that someone could perform a background check on you and find that you have a misdemeanor offense. They could use this to deny you an employment opportunity or housing. They might even use this information to deny you a loan.

Furthermore, there are other consequences that could stem from a misdemeanor conviction. You could be facing a significant fine, and you may have to perform community service. You might be put on probation for a certain amount of time, and you could even have to spend some time in jail. There are some misdemeanor offenses in the State of Florida that could carry a jail sentence of up to a year.

Finally, if you plead guilty or are convicted by a jury of your peers, a misdemeanor conviction is going to follow you for the rest of your life. It is nearly impossible to get a misdemeanor conviction removed from your record, which is why you need to put up a vigorous defense if you have been charged with a misdemeanor.

Does a Misdemeanor Arrest Stay On Your Record?

If you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, this is going to immediately show up on your record as soon as your information is put in the system. If you are not convicted, then the charge is not necessarily going to follow you for the rest of your life; however, the arrest is still going to stay on your record unless you do something about it.

This may come as a surprise, but there are some people who are arrested for crimes they did not commit. If you are innocent of the crime with which you have been charged, then you should have the right to have this information removed. If you are charged with a crime but not convicted, you need to know what your options are. How can you get this information off of your record?

Sealing Versus Expunging

In general, there are two options to remove misdemeanor charges from your record if you are not convicted or found guilty. The first option is to have your record expunged. This means the information is going to be completely removed from your visible public record.

There are several situations where you may have the right to have those charges expunged. These include:

  • The charge was ultimately dropped
  • Charges were not filed even though you were arrested
  • The case was ultimately dismissed
  • You were found not guilty at trial

Furthermore, you may strike a pre-trial plea bargain with the District Attorney's office. For example, if you are charged with a drug crime, the attorney may offer you the opportunity to go to rehab and complete the program in exchange for having your record expunged.

It is important for you to rely on an attorney who can get your record expunged if any of the above conditions apply to you. Remember that if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you cannot have your record expunged.

Another option is to have your record sealed. This is not the same as having your record expunged, but it does prevent the public from seeing information related to your case. If you have received something called a “withhold of adjudication,” then you may have the option to have your record sealed.

Misdemeanor Vs. Felony

You might also be wondering what the difference is between a misdemeanor and a felony. And while a misdemeanor is a minor crime, a felony is a very serious offense. Misdemeanor charges include shoplifting, minor assault, and petty theft; however, felony charges include crimes such as rape, murder, arson, and numerous other serious offenses.

The biggest difference between felonies and misdemeanors is that felonies carry very severe penalties. For example, you could be fined tens of thousands of dollars for a felony offense, and you could have to spend multiple years in jail. Furthermore, if you are convicted of a felony, then you lose your right to vote.

Protect Your Rights in Florida with Aaron Delgado and Associates

No matter what crime you have been charged with, you have the right to an attorney who can assist you with a criminal defense. All convictions in the State of Florida are serious, and you should work with an attorney who can defend you.

At Aaron Delgado and Associates, we have the training and experience necessary to vigorously defend your rights. We will work with you personally without judgment, making sure that we always act in your best interest. Contact us today for a case evaluation. We would be honored to represent you.

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