Expungement or Sealing Criminal Record
Difference between Expunging and Sealing your criminal record:
Sealing and expunging your criminal record in Florida are two entirely different things. Whether you qualify to seal or expunge your case depends on how your case was resolved. A person can only expunge their record if their case was dismissed by the Judge, dropped by the State Attorney, or never filed on by the State Attorney. A person can only seal their record if they ended up taking a plea to qualifying charge(s) and they received a “withhold of adjudication.”
In Florida the ‘sealing’ of your criminal record means that any and all record of your criminal case, including record of your arrest, held by law enforcement agencies and the Clerk of Court becomes inaccessible to the general public. Though your record still exists, once it is sealed it can only be viewed under certain exceptions under Florida law and by court order.
The ‘expungement’ of your criminal record means that any and all record of your criminal case, including the record of your arrest, held by law enforcement agencies is physically destroyed. It is important to note that though the record held by law enforcement is destroyed, confidential copies are retained by the Clerk of Court and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, both of which are inaccessible to the general public.
Benefits of having record sealed or expunged:
If you have a criminal record you may have experienced the negativity that comes with it. If you are eligible to seal or expunge your Florida criminal record you could see the following benefits:
Employment – Once you Seal or Expunge your Florida criminal record you are legally able to deny having a criminal arrest record which may improve your chances at getting that new job.
Housing – In this day and age many landlords and real estate companies will run criminal background checks on potential tenants and buyers. If you seal or expunge your Florida criminal record you may be able to avoid these problems.
Loans – Lenders also run background checks and are often interested in your background. If you seal or expunge your Florida criminal record this may not be an issue.
Insurance – Having a criminal record may cause your insurance company to raise your premiums, or even deny you coverage
Students – Sealing or Expunging your criminal record could make the difference when applying to a University or College