Sealing and Expungement of Criminal Records
Have you been denied employment or a residence due to an arrest that occurred in the past? Are you worried that a significant other or coworkers may discover an embarrassing booking photo? In this computer age, anyone with a computer can find out with a few strokes of a keyboard!
We will be able to help you clear your name by sealing or expunging your criminal record. The law states that a criminal history is public record unless the record is sealed or expunged.
What is a Criminal History?
Criminal history begins the moment someone is arrested and it details their journey through the criminal justice system. The history includes the arrest, disposition (the results of the case), and other records associated with a criminal case. Some jurisdictions keep the records for ten or more years whether adjudication was guilty or withheld. Some jurisdictions, however, keep the records indefinitely.
What is Sealing a Record?
Sealing means that your record is physically sealed and may not be accessed without a court order. Your information regarding the charge is removed from the Criminal Information Justice System. After ten years, you may ask the Court to expunge the record. If you pled to the charge and received a withhold of adjudication, you must go through this process first. Some crimes do not allow you to seal your record no matter whether the case resulting in a withhold of adjudication or an adjudication.
The details about Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records are set forth in Florida Statute
What is an Expungement?
Expungement a record means that the record is physically destroyed. Only one copy of your record is maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The associated law enforcement agencies that arrested you must destroy the records as well. We can even assist you in removing any photographs from the local Sheriff’s Office Jail records.
The requirements of Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records are set forth in Florida Statute § 943.0585.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Can a juvenile record be sealed or expunged? Yes! A juvenile record may be sealed or expunged. Some offenses dealing with violence and sex may have special time requirements. Florida Statute § 943.0155 details criminal record retention as it relates to minors and certain offenses.
Can I seal my entire criminal record?
You can only seal a charge from one incident. If there were multiple charges arising from the single incident, all of the charges may be sealed or expunged. We can assist you in determining which charge(s) being sealed or expunged will benefit you in the future.
Why can’t I have my record expunged immediately?
In some cases, this may be possible. If your case was not filed by the Office of the State Attorney, dismissed by the Court or a Nolle Prosequi filed by the State, your case may be expunged. Otherwise, the process may involve the sealing of the record first.
The process involves FDLE and it can take more than 6-8 months in most cases. FDLE has additional information about the requirements and the process. The process can be daunting. We have handled many Expungement and Record Sealing cases and we can help you clear your record.
Do I have to Appear in Court?
In the vast majority of cases, We will be able to appear on your behalf without you having to take the time from your busy schedule. Since the Court ultimately makes the final decision, a Court may require your appearance.