According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 92% of large employers run background checks, which could be bad news if you or a loved one has a criminal record. A criminal record can follow you for life, preventing you from pursuing employment, education opportunities and more.
Sealing or expunging a criminal record is a beneficial option for people who want a fresh start and more opportunities within the workforce. While both sealing and expungement can better your future, it’s important to know the difference between the two and the appropriate steps to take to present your case.
What is the Difference Between Sealing and Expungement in Florida?
Many people believe sealing and expunging a record are the same thing, but they differ. When a record is sealed it is placed in a sealed envelope and the public will not have access to it. This record is still on file at the courthouse and the arresting police agency, but it will be erased from the court’s computer database. When a record is expunged, the courthouse and the arresting police agency destroy it, it is also erased from the court’s computer database. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FDLE, will be the only agency still in possession of the expunged record. Given these differences about how the file is handled, the legal effects of a sealing and expungement are remarkably similar.
Who is Eligible to Seal or Expunge Their Record?
To be eligible to seal or expunge your record, you must meet five requirements:
– You have not been convicted of any crime
– You have not been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent
– You have not sealed or expunged a record before
– You are not currently under court-ordered supervision
– You are sealing an eligible charge under Florida law
How to Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record in Florida
Someone who is eligible to have their record sealed or expunged must first submit an application, signed in front of a notary public, to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a Certificate of Eligibility. The applicant must be fingerprinted, submit a $75 fee, and present a certified disposition of their case.
Once the applicant receives a Certificate of Eligibility, they will file a petition with the court to have their criminal record sealed or expunged. After the petition is filed, the court will make a ruling whether to grant relief or not. If the court rules your record to be sealed or expunged, the order will be sent to the authorities noting the changes. You may have the option to expunge or seal a criminal record if you meet certain requirements. While the steps to this process may seem straightforward, the Khonsari Law Group has experience with many expungements and sealings and can handle the application process for you to prevent further delay. Please call us today to set up a free consultation.
Can I Legally Deny My Sealed or Expunged Record?
Although there are many instances where you will not have to release your criminal record once it has been sealed or expunged, there are some exceptions. A few of the exceptions include if you are applying for employment with a law enforcement agency, the Department of Education, or seeking admission to the Florida Bar. There are more exceptions under Florida law. Contact the Khonsari Law Group for a free consultation and to discuss your eligibility for a sealing or expungement.
The Benefits of Sealing or Expunging
Sealing or expunging a criminal record is extremely beneficial and can mean a fresh start. With a myriad of for-profit mug shot sites around the web, such as Mugshot.com, getting your record sealed or expunged is imperative. By sealing or expunging your record, it will no longer be available to the public. After your record is sealed or expunged you won’t be required to disclose the information except in the situations listed in the previous section.
Whether you or a loved one are looking to seal or expunge a record, contact us to discuss your options. While the process may seem easy, the Khonsari Law Group’s knowledge and experience will help you navigate this intricate process. Call for a Free Consultation today.
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