Benefits of Expungement or Sealing
For many people, a criminal record can have far-reaching consequences. A criminal record is a public record that others who influence your life can access. It may be difficult to get a job, rent a house, obtain an advanced degree, or pursue a professional career. A criminal record also may make it difficult to start or advance in a military career, obtain a security clearance, obtain a college scholarship, or play for a college sports team. You may be able to expunge or seal your criminal record. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of expungement or sealing and petitioning for this relief, you should consult the Florida expungement lawyers at Hanlon Law.Benefits of Expungement or Sealing
Types of expungement or sealing available in Florida include automatic sealing by operation of law, court-ordered expungement, record sealing, juvenile diversion expungement, lawful self-defense expungement, human trafficking expungement, automatic juvenile expungement, and early juvenile expungement.
Numerous benefits accrue if you can obtain a court-ordered expungement or sealing of your criminal record in Florida. Your past can be shielded from public view. Your reputation in the community can be protected. Your employer or school may not easily learn of criminal misconduct from your past. In fact, you will not need to disclose the arrest or charge when asked by a prospective employer, school, or landlord.How Can Court-Ordered Expungement Help?
Court-ordered expungement is defined under Florida Statutes section 943.045(16). It involves the near-total elimination of documents related to a past crime. When expungement is granted, the court orders the physical destruction or obliteration of the criminal record or a portion of it by criminal justice agencies with custody of it. However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will maintain a confidential record for limited purposes; these limited purposes could include evaluating subsequent requests or recreating the record in case a court vacates the expungement order.
If the expungement attorneys at our Florida firm help you expunge your criminal record, you will be allowed to lawfully deny that you were convicted of a crime on a job application. You will not need to worry about being turned down for a job or being denied a professional license because of the criminal record. Additionally, if you already have a professional license, obtaining an expungement allows you to keep the license.
However, there are some limits to the benefits of expungement. For example, you cannot deny your prior arrest under certain circumstances, such as when you are applying to work at a criminal justice agency or when you are applying to work at any school, any university, the Department of Education, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities. Even when your criminal record is expunged, it may remain accessible in private databases. Additionally, the crime that was the subject of the expungement might still be considered a prior conviction for sentencing purposes if you are charged and convicted again. Our Florida expungement attorneys can further explain the limits of this relief.How Does Record Sealing Help?
Sealing of a criminal record is different from expungement, and it is not as comprehensive. Record sealing is defined under Florida Statutes section 943.045. It involves preserving records, but within circumstances that secure the records so that they are not accessible, except to those with a legal right to access the information that they contain. The public is barred from generally accessing the record so that confidentiality, rather than total secrecy, is conferred.
However, with record sealing, you can be protected against the adverse effects of a background check performed by an employer, a landlord or property management company, or a lender. Often, companies only want to hire a person whose criminal background check comes back clean; a sealed record can allow you to be hired in most jobs and can allow you to rent a home. The sealed record will not be exposed in a criminal background check, which relies on public records.Talk to an Expungement Lawyer in Florida
It is important to talk to a knowledgeable attorney to understand the benefits of expungement or sealing. If you are interested in the possibility of expunging or sealing your criminal record in Florida, you can call Hanlon Law at 813.228.7095 or contact us through our online form.