The benefit of having your record sealed or expunged is that under Florida law, you can legally deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed or expunged record.
You cannot deny the arrest if you are applying to change your immigration status, are a defendant in a criminal case or are seeking: employment with a criminal justice agency; employment or contract with, or license by the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, any district school board, any university, laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities; employment or use by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly; employment or access to a seaport; admission to The Florida Bar; or petitioning to seal or expunge.
Sealing or expunging your record in Florida will have no impact on private company or federal databases. Even if criminal history information is sealed or expunged, it may still be available through private companies that purchase such information from the State and counties. Therefore, employers and the general public may have access to it. Your information may have also been submitted to the national criminal history
database by Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Effective July 1, 2006, all Florida judges will have online access to view sealed records.
A person who has NOT been adjudicated guilty (convicted) as an adult, and has not previously sealed or expunged may qualify for a record sealing or expungment. If you have received a withhold of adjudication for a qualifying offense, you may seal. If your charges were dismissed entirely, you may expunge.
Florida has automatic expunction of a juvenile record, at age 24 or 26, depending on prior history and arrest or conviction as an adult; expunction by petition of some misdemeanors after successful completion of a diversion program.
If you have been adjudicated guilty (convicted as an adult) of a criminal offense, including a criminal traffic offense (DUI, DWLS), criminal ordinance violation, misdemeanor or felony, you cannot get your record sealed or expunged.
The difference between sealing and expunging a criminal history record is that when a record is sealed, the public will not have access to it through the government databases. That means most employers will not have access to the information. However, city, county, state and federal government and agencies, including the police and military, have a legal right to access criminal history
records even if they are sealed.
When a record is expunged, agencies that would have access to a sealed record will be able to know that criminal information has been expunged from the record, and would only have access to the record through a court order.
Many people seek to have their criminal arrest records cleaned so that they may obtain private employment. If you are interested in cleaning an arrest record through sealing or expunging, call me today. I am a South Florida criminal attorney who handles the sealing and expunging of criminal records in Miami-Dade and Broward.