When you seal or expunge a record, you are obtaining a court order that directs the clerk’s office and all law enforcement agencies to prevent the public from having access to your arrest information.
However, certain situations may arise where you will be requires to unseal a record that has been sealed or expunged.
If you are applying to become a United States citizen, it is required that you not only disclose your sealed or expunged arrest to Homeland Security, you must provide certified records of that arrest, such as the arrest report, information (charging document), and sealing or expungement order.
If you work in an industry or profession that requires disclosure of sealed or expunged records, you may be asked to produce certified documents to your employer.
My advise is to get certified copies of documents before your record is sealed or expunged. However, if you do not and one day need to get them, an attorney can assist you.
Your attorney may file a motion to unseal a record with the court. This motion will order the clerk’s office to open an expunged or sealed record so that you may obtain documents from the file that would otherwise be unavailable.
Once the documents are obtained, the clerk’s office will reseal the record automatically. It is not necessary to go through the sealing or expunging process all over again.
While sealed or expunged records are ordered to be kept private, the physical files and documents are maintained by the clerk’s office either in warehouses or on microfilm. Even records that have been sealed or expunged for years may be able to be reopened if documents are needed.
Eric Matheny seals and expunges criminal records in all Florida counties. Attorney Eric Matheny can be contacted at (305) 504-6655.