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Before You Plead Guilty or No Contest, Ask Your Attorney...Can You Seal Your Record?

Aggressive Trial Attorney With a Reputation for Success

A withhold of adjudication means that you were not convicted of the offense.

But under Florida Law, MANY charges cannot be sealed, even if adjudication is withheld.

It's a common misconception that you can seal any charge where adjudication is withheld.  

You may only seal certain charges.  

For instance, you cannot seal any domestic violence offense, even if the charge was a misdemeanor.  You cannot seal most violent offenses, such as robbery, aggravated battery, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and felony battery.

You cannot seal any charge that is related or derives from a sex offense.  This means that if you are charged with sexual battery and you plead the case out to a lesser offense, you cannot seal that charge even if it would normally be eligible for sealing.

You cannot seal any sex offense.

You cannot seal any fraud offense.

You cannot seal elderly abuse or child abuse.

There are many more.

Before you plead guilty or no contest, ask your attorney if your charge can be sealed once your sentence has been completed (for instance, your term of probation ends).

While the ability to seal the record may or may not be a significant factor in your decision to accept the plea deal (sometimes, a good plea needs to be accepted, even if you will be left with a permanent record), it is important that you at least understand whether the charge can later be sealed.