Martindale-Hubbell BV Peer Review Rated
Avvo Rating 10.0
Avvo Rating 10.0

Benefits of Expungement or Sealing in Miami

Legal Representation for Miami Residents Seeking a Clean Record

Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County. The city has one of the highest crime rates in the country, with 458.3 crimes per 100,000 residents. Miami-Dade County has 3,617.5 crimes per 100,000 residents. There were 13,674 felony filings in Miami-Dade County in 2017-2018, and there were 3,051 juvenile delinquency filings. A criminal record can haunt you far into the future. However, the harm can be reduced through the many benefits of expungement or sealing in Miami. You should discuss your situation with the Miami expungement lawyers at Hanlon Law.

Benefits of Expungement or Sealing in Miami

In Florida, your criminal record is a public record. Anybody can have access to it. However, if you obtain expungement or sealing, it stops being a criminal record. It is made confidential and exempt from the mandates of Florida Statutes section 119.07(1) and section 24(a) of Article I of the State Constitution. Under section 119.07(1), anybody with custody of a public record is supposed to allow inspection and copying by anybody who wants to do so; expungement and sealing change that rule. Likewise, section 24(a) of Article I provides for rights to inspect and copy public records, other than records exempted.

When a criminal record has been expunged or sealed, the record that is retained is confidential. However, the method of confidentiality is different. Court-ordered expungement requires that any criminal agencies with custody over the record physically destroy it. However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) maintains a confidential copy.

Florida Statutes section 943.059 governs record sealing; a record is not physically destroyed if it is sealed. The protections provided by record sealing are slightly less than they are for expungement; the record remains on file but unavailable to those without a court order. Local, state, and federal governments continue to have the same access. However, it still provides protection because it is not accessible to the public for the purposes of a criminal background check. An expungement attorney in Miami can help you pursue record sealing if you are not eligible for expungement.

What Happens During Expungement or Sealing?

The Clerk of Court is supposed to prevent all access to expunged and sealed records. This means that people cannot come in and request an expunged or sealed record or order it online or by mail. The State’s Attorney must similarly prevent access by the public. With expungement, the arresting agency is supposed to physically destroy the record; generally, with record sealing, tape is placed to close the record. The FDLE needs to remove records access and send the order to the FBI.

Ability to Deny a Prior Arrest

A huge benefit of both court-ordered expungement and record sealing is that you can deny or fail to acknowledge the record in most circumstances. For example, if you apply for most jobs or for housing, you can deny that you were arrested. However, there are important exceptions, and a Miami expungement attorney can advise you on when the exceptions apply. One of these is that you cannot deny the record if you apply to work for a criminal justice agency. Another exception is if you apply to work in a job with children.

The right to deny the sealed or expunged criminal record is broad and important. You cannot be liable for a false statement or be found to have committed perjury because you denied or failed to acknowledge the expunged or sealed record. Again, there are exceptions.

Consult a Seasoned Expungement Attorney

It can be difficult to move on from an arrest or criminal charges. A criminal record can make you less competitive when applying for a job, looking for a home, seeking a loan, or pursuing entrance to a school. You may face the risk of losing a professional license that you worked hard to obtain. If you are interested in acquiring the benefits of expungement or sealing in Miami, you should discuss your situation with a knowledgeable expungement lawyer in the Miami area. At Hanlon Law, our criminal defense attorneys have expunged and sealed thousands of criminal records across Florida. Call us at 800.373.1974 or contact us through our online form.

Client Reviews
I highly recommend this law firm who worked on my case. Their staff is highly professional and when ever I called to get an update on my case Kathy always took the time to explain things thoroughly. I admire their honesty and professionalism and the price for their services are reasonable. I am very grateful for their services and for getting my case resolved and I recommend this firm to anyone. Victor