If you have been arrested or charged and convicted, there may be an opportunity to expunge your record in Florida. Expungement differs from records sealing, though the two offer some similarities.
If you successfully expunge your record for a criminal arrest you in effect no longer have a criminal record. A copy is kept by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but not even a court order can unseal it. A sealed record, though not visible in public records, can be found with a court order in most cases.
Here are some details about expunging a criminal record in Florida:
- You only get to do this ONCE in your lifetime, so choose very carefully if you have multiple arrest records.
- You cannot expunge a criminal record which resulted in a guilty verdict. Similarly, you cannot expunge court records unless you were found not guilty.
- You cannot seal or expunge records for serious felonies including homicide, manslaughter, aggravated assault and battery, most sex crimes, robbery, burglary of a residence, and some others.
Why should you consider a records expungement? In effect the criminal record no longer exists, so you are not required to notify a prospective employer that you had a criminal record. The only exception is if you apply to serve in law enforcement, in which case you must reveal the record even if it is sealed or expunged.
If you feel you have a criminal record which is keeping you from integrating into society or getting a job you need, contact Adam Dunn and the Dunn Law Firm at 941-866-4352. We can discuss the particulars of your criminal past and help make a determination whether expungement or sealing is a viable option for you.