Sealing and Expungement

A Criminal Record

Anyone who has ever experience of an arrest or prosecution will often ask “will this be on my record?”. In addition to providing quality criminal defense representation, The Fletcher Law Practice will strive to protect a client’s clean record. It is important for you to know whether you are eligible to have your record sealed or expunged.

A court may expunge or seal a person’s criminal record under a set of circumstances. For expungement, the records pertaining to the expunged case are destroyed. Even entities with access to sealed records cannot see expunged records. When a case is sealed, the records cannot be accessed by the general public.

If the prosecutor does not file a charging document after an arrest, a person is eligible to have their record expunged. Or if the prosecutor or judge later dismisses the case, they are eligible as well for expungement. If the case proceeded to trial or the person accepted a plea deal, and adjudication was withheld, the person is eligible to have his or her record sealed unless the offense is included on the statutory list of disqualifying offenses.

A person cannot seal a record following a withhold until the person is no longer under court supervision for the offense (i.e., until probation is over). A person is not eligible for record expunction or sealing if he or she has ever been adjudicated guilty of any offense. For example, misdemeanors, traffic crimes, and criminal ordinance violations. This restriction is not limited to Florida convictions. A person is also prohibited from seeking this relief if he or she has previously had a case sealed or expunged before. In general, a person can only expunge or seal a single case.

Sealing and Expungement

A person whose record has been expunged or sealed can lawfully deny the existence of the criminal case unless the person:

  • Is applying for a job with a criminal justice agency;
  • Is a defendant in a criminal case;
  • Is applying for admission to the Florida Bar;
  • Is seeking to be employed or licensed by certain state government departments (most pertaining to education, children, or healthcare);
  • Is seeking to be employed by a state contractor in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly; or
  • Is seeking to become a court-appointed guardian.

Contact The Fletcher Law Practice today to schedule a free consultation. You need to know if whether you are eligible for sealing or expunging your record.

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