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Can you expunge multiple arrests or charges in one hearing?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2020 | criminal defense

A criminal record can cause issues years after you complete your sentence. Educational institutions and employers might check your record before hiring you or admitting you to school. Even if you get a job or enroll, you may miss out on promotions or scholarship because of your record.

Blemishes on your criminal background can directly affect the opportunities available to you in the future. Florida law allows those with state criminal records to sometimes ask for an expungement.

In an expungement, the state removes certain blemishes from your publicly available criminal record after a judge rules that you meet certain criteria. If you have multiple arrests or criminal charges on your record, can you potentially expunge them all in one hearing?

 Expungement is meant for those who have moved on from a shaky past

The idea behind expungement is to give those with minor, often misdemeanor, criminal records an opportunity to move on with their lives. People who avoid additional legal issues after an arrest or a conviction may be able to qualify for an expungement.

Generally speaking, the ideal is to have someone only using expungement once and then avoid criminal charges in the future. In fact, whether or not you have had a previous expungement can affect your chances of securing one this time. However, in one specific scenario, it may be possible for someone to expunge multiple problems with their record at one time.

A single hearing can only affect related records

Perhaps local law enforcement thought that you played a role in a neighborhood drug operation, but the traffic they saw coming to and from your house was actually for your downstairs neighbor. Police may have arrested you multiple times without being able to bring charges against you because of suspicions related to a single criminal incident.

It could also be possible that you have a personal history with someone who works in law enforcement. If someone intentionally targeted you multiple times for arrest, those arrests have a distinct relationship to one another. Provided that the courts agree with you that multiple blemishes on your record directly relate to one another, it may be possible to expunge all of those records simultaneously. Otherwise, you will generally only be able to remove one blemish from your record at a single hearing.