If you will recall previous posts, the difference between sealing and expunging your record is that in order to expunge a record, the case must have been dismissed or never formally filed. In order to seal a record, adjudication must have been withheld on the charge, and the charge must be an eligible offense.
Click here to learn which charges cannot be sealed.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is the agency that governs the sealing or expunging of records. If you are trying to sealing a charge for which sealing is not permitted, your application will be denied.
However, attempts and conspiracies to charges that are ineligible cannot be sealed as well. That means that even though you were not charged with an enumerated ineligible offense, if you are charged with an attempt or conspiracy to commit an ineligible offense and you seek to seal that arrest, your application will be denied.
Click here to learn more about attempts and conspiracies.
If your case is still open, you may want to think about a resolution that will permit you to seal your record. For instance, if you are charged with burglary of an unoccupied dwelling (which cannot be sealed), you may want to discuss with your defense attorney the possibility of pleading to a charge of burglary of an unoccupied structure, which can be sealed provided adjudication is withheld.
Even if you are not convicted, a withhold to an ineligible offense will remain on your record forever. The arrest will come up in background checks and may prevent you from getting a job. I encourage you to do whatever you can to ensure that your record can be sealed so that you may one day deny the arrest.
Eric Matheny represents clients statewide regarding expungements and record sealings.