In the state of Florida, it is legal for some people to seal and/or expunge their criminal records. By doing so, this can keep future employers, banks, creditors, landlords, as well as colleges or universities from seeing the mistakes of your past. Being able to keep a previous run-in with the law sealed might keep you from moving forward in life and can help keep people from regressing.
Two Situations Where People Can Have Their Criminal Records Immediately Sealed or Expunged
- The final disposition in the case was dismissed or dropped.
- Your verdict was ruled “not guilty.”
Types Of Expungement Options
There are several ways to seal and/or expunge your records in Florida.
- An arrest that was based on mid-identification
- An arrest that was based on a false report
- An arrest warrant for the correct name, but wrong person
- There has not been any sealing or expunging of criminal records
- You are not currently under court supervision including house arrest, probation, or community service
- You do not have a prior guilty adjudication of a felony or misdemeanor offense
- Your criminal arrest record is not on the list of excluded offenses
Erroneous or Incorrect Criminal Record – In some instances, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) makes a mistake and a person that does not have a criminal history can have something pop up. In this situation, we are able to start an expungement process to correct this error on your record.
Sealing Versus Expunging: What’s the Difference?
Both sealing and expunging gives you the opportunity to deny that an arrest ever happened on your criminal record. Both of these methods will keep your record from being available to the public.
Here are a couple differences between the two:
- Sealed records are simply hidden from public view. The information is obscured from being viewed by most people as the records are made confidential, but they are not destroyed.
- Expunged records are physically destroyed and gone forever as if the arrest never occurred. However, it is important to note that DNA and fingerprints are excluded from being destroyed.
But even when you have your record sealed, law enforcement and the judicial system can still see the record. It can also be viewed if you go to purchase a firearm or seek employment by an organization that serves children or the elderly.
If you had a guilty plea, the record is eligible to be sealed as long as adjudication was withheld, however if you were convicted of the crime, the record is not able to be sealed or expunged.
Akilah Harris Can Help Seal and Expunge Criminal Records
Don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your life! Contrary to popular belief, a criminal arrest record does not simply go away over time. Instead, it will remain PUBLIC and PERMANENT unless a judge orders it to be sealed or expunged. Even without a conviction, a criminal case can cause people serious problems in employment, housing, and in other important areas of family law.
> Learn More
Are you going through a divorce or trying to retain custody of your child? Do you need help with Estate Planning? Maybe you need help with something else that involves your family? At Akilah Harris PLLC., we understand that family law cases are uniquely stressful and often take a heavy emotional toll on families. Our family law offices in Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale Flordia offer compassionate and thorough legal counsel to our clients. Consult with us when you need to protect your finances, assets, and time with your child. In these highly personal disputes, you need to rely on an experienced Broward County Attorney who knows how to defend your rights.