Sealing and Expungement
By Daveta Williams
Were you found not guilty of a crime? Was your case dismissed? Had Adjudication Withheld? Are you currently looking for employment or enrolling in school? If so, you should consider sealing and expunging your Florida criminal record.
- Sealing is the process of concealing your criminal record from public access.
- Expungement of your record erases the arrest completely.
You should get your record sealed or expunged if:
- You are actively looking for employment
- Believe your criminal history and/or criminal arrest will appear in a background check
When you complete an application for employment or college, one of the frequently asked questions on the application is “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?” If you have a criminal history or arrest that is accessible to the public and has not been sealed or expunged, this question can hinder you from obtaining a career, advancing in your career, and could have an effect on your college application.
If you are not actively looking for employment and/or completing an application for college, you should still consider getting your record sealed or expunged. In Florida, sealing and expungement can take anywhere between five months to one year to complete the process. Completing the sealing and expungement process early can be beneficial to your future and can avoid any unnecessary delay.
Why Should You Seal or Expunge Your Record?
Having your record sealed means it will be confidential, and the public will not have access to it. However, certain government or related entities will have access to all of the information. Once your record is sealed, with very few exceptions, you can then legally deny or fail to acknowledge that the arrest ever happened. After your record has been sealed for a period of time you may be eligible to have it expunged.
If your record is sealed, it will show as “sealed” with no further details. Unlike sealing, when your record is expunged, it should not show any arrest record at all. As with sealing, once your record is expunged, with very few exceptions, you can then legally deny or fail to acknowledge that the arrest ever happened.
If you are found guilty in court, this means you can not have your record sealed or expunged. For this reason, it is always important to have an attorney with you when you are in court.
In Florida, there are at least 33 criminal violations that can preclude you from sealing or expunging your criminal record. If you would like to know if you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed or expunged call us at (407) 500-4267. One of our experienced attorneys will be more than happy to assist you.