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Expungements and Sealing Generally
Under Florida law, expunging or sealing a criminal record is the means by which people can have their criminal record removed from public eyes. A expungement or sealing effectively eliminates most hurdles a public criminal record brings.
BEWARE: If you have ever been convicted, which means adjudicated guilty, of any criminal offense you are not eligible to have your criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida.
Always have an attorney represent you because any conviction can make you ineligible to seal or expunge a criminal record.
When a record has been expunged, the Court Order requires that the State Attorney, the arresting department or agency, and the County Sheriff's Office to physically destroy their records and files including digital information.
NOTE: DNA and fingerprints are excluded from this destruction Order.
When a record has been sealed, the Court Order requires that the State Attorney, the arresting department or agency, and the County Sheriff's Office to make those records and files confidential and not disseminate them to anyone.
Only cases dropped by the State Attorney or dismissed by a Judge can be expunged initially. Both Expunging and sealing give you the ability to deny the arrest. Both a sealed record and an expunged record are no longer public records under Florida law and no longer available to the public. However, there is one big difference between sealing a record or expunging a criminal record. When purchasing a firearm, a person with a sealed record must disclose the arrest whereas a person with an expunged record may deny any arrest.
Why Expunge Or Seal Your Criminal Record
Let's face it, we are just human and more likely than not have done things we regret and should be forgotten. However, when arrested that past mistake doesn't just go away. Today past mistakes can be looked up while sitting at the table with a cup of coffee. A sealing or expungement prevents this so you won't have to worry about:
Perhaps there is a felony conviction somewhere in your past. Maybe you think it was a minor felony as felonies go, and you served your time and can move on with your life. Unfortunately, in the society we live in, the reality is that something like a criminal conviction follows you everywhere, even if it is just a misdemeanor. You may not think it's worth the time, money and effort to get your record expunged. If that's true, here are five reasons why you will definitely want to reconsider.
If you've ever filled out a job application, you probably remember the section where they ask if you've ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. This always creates an awkward situation for someone with a criminal record. They can either answer truthfully and risk not getting the job, or lie and risk being in violation of the law once again. If you successfully expunge your record, you should be able to truthfully write "no" in answer to that question.
Some loan agencies think that a criminal conviction is an indication that someone is less likely to meet their financial obligations. That means you may be facing prohibitive interest rates or be unable to get a loan at all. That means difficulty buying a car, a home, or paying for an education. Combine that with difficulty getting a job and you could be in a very tough situation.
Have you ever considered adopting a child? Do you want to adopt one right now? If you do, you may want to look into getting your record expunged. 15 states currently make it illegal for someone with a criminal record to adopt children. You should note that in most if not all cases, criminal convictions involving offenses against minors cannot be expunged, so if you have been involved in a crime involving children or a sex crime, you will almost certainly never be able to adopt a child.
4. Peace of Mind
Although there are many other reasons why expunging your criminal record is definitely to your advantage, the most important one might be your own peace of mind. While you have that mark on your record, it's hard to feel truly free. When you clear your record you have a clean slate. You can feel like a truly contributing member of society, just as entitled to the rights and privileges of a citizen as anyone else around you. Even if you've taken your punishment for your offense, it's sometimes hard to feel like it's completely behind you while your criminal record is still out there.
Another great reason to get your criminal record expunged is that it can be a lot easier than you might think. You don't have to hire a lawyer or spend days hunting down the right forms and figuring out where to send them. ClearUpMyRecord.com can do all of that for you. The process is simple. Just set up an account and take the free eligibility check to see if you are eligible for expungement. If you are, you can hire ClearUpMyRecord.com to take you through the process. You'll get an application kit with instructions on how to fill out those forms and where they should be sent. Then all you have to do is wait for a response from the government agency that handles expungement. You may have to appear in court, but once that's done, if the judge deems your case is valid, you can be free and clear and ready to get on with your life.
A family member, friend, or co-working finding out about your arrest.
A new love interest locating potential embarrassing information.
Your boss finding out before a potential promotion.
Someone wanting to hurt you by posting embarrassing information all over the web.