Record sealing is the practice of sealing or, in some cases, destroying court records that would otherwise be publicly accessible as public records.
To “expunge” is to “erase or remove completely.” In law, “expungement” is the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record.
A criminal record can make finding a job, housing, and applying for licenses difficult. Florida law allows the offended to request that their criminal history be expunged or sealed, so it will not be seen by the general public.
Expungement and record sealing are two different processes in Florida. When a criminal record is sealed or expunged, potential employers will be prohibited from accessing the information when they conduct a background search.
Some criminal records can be sealed or expunged under certain conditions in Florida. You will most likely not need to disclose anything related to your case after the record is sealed or expunged. A sealed record will not be accessible by the general public. Only certain government agencies and law enforcement will have access to the records.
If a court orders that records be expunged, they must be physically destroyed by criminal justice agencies. Only the Florida Department of Law will retain a confidential copy that can be viewed by court order only. Anyone else with access to the sealed record will only be able to view the response. It will be as if the incident never occurred.
If you were never convicted of a crime or a guilty verdict was withheld, you can petition to have your criminal record sealed. You may not have any pending petitions to seal or expunge your criminal record. Criminal records that involve homicide, kidnapping, or certain sex offenses can never be sealed.
Expungement is only available in cases where charges were not filed or in cases where the charges were dismissed. Florida law prohibits the expungement of records for a wide range of crimes—including some crimes that can be sealed. You can not have your record expunged or sealed if you were found guilty of any felony or child abuse. If you were a victim of human trafficking, you may petition to have your criminal record expunged.
How Do I File for Expungement or Record Sealing?
All applicants must file an application for certificate of eligibility with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. You must submit a certified copy of the final deposition and a full set of fingerprints when applying to have your criminal record sealed or expunged. Find all forms in the Expunge/Seal Package available on the website of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.)
The Department of Law Enforcement will determine if meet eligibility upon filing. Once you receive the certificate, you must file a petition to seal or expunge with the court that handled your case.
If your record is sealed or expunged, you will not have to disclose it, however you are required to reveal the record when applying for jobs with a criminal justice agency, the state department, or jobs working with children, the disabled, or elderly.
Expungement and record sealing rules are complicated in Florida. If you or someone else you know needs to have their criminal history sealed or expunged, contact Ronald Chapman. Ronald Chapman is a, experienced defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Florida criminal court system and is dedicated to his clients. Ronald Chapman can help you with your case.
Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help.
Visit us at https://www.justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, dedicated to defending your rights. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case.
Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
400 Clematis Street, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
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