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Choosing Between Sealing and Expunging in Orlando

Attorneys Assisting Orlando Residents with Cleaning Criminal Records

Orlando has a high crime rate in comparison to the rest of the state and the U.S. A large percentage of these crimes are non-violent theft and property crimes. Annually, there are 3,825 theft crimes per 100,000 people and 4,815 property crimes per 100,000 people in Orlando. The Orlando Police Department keeps arrest records. Criminal court records can be obtained from the Orange County Clerk of Court; in most cases, the records are available online from 2009 to the present. If you are choosing between sealing and expunging in Orlando, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced Orlando expungement lawyer. Hanlon Law may be able to help.

Choosing Between Sealing and Expunging in Orlando

Choosing between expungement and sealing is often a decision based on a person’s eligibility for a certain form of relief. Generally, expungement is more beneficial than record sealing, but both carry benefits for people who find it challenging to move forward with their lives because their record pops up in criminal background checks.

Court-ordered expungement is governed by Florida Statutes section 943.0585, and it carries substantial benefits. If your record is expunged under section 943.0585, it is physically destroyed by the criminal justice agencies that are in control of it, but a confidential record is kept by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The confidential record could be used to analyze a later request by you or to reconstitute the record in case the expungement order is vacated. With court-ordered expungement, you can shield the incident from public view and protect your reputation. In most cases, you can keep your employer, school, and landlord from knowing about a criminal incident. With some exceptions, you are permitted to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge a criminal record if it has been expunged.

Should You Petition for Record Sealing?

Record sealing is slightly less favorable than expungement, but in some cases, the state’s attorney may object to expungement but not record sealing. Accordingly, it may be easier to get your records sealed than to have them expunged, and the relief is still helpful.

Under Florida Statutes section 943.059, sealed records are preserved such that the records are not accessible other than to people with a legal right to access the information in them. The public cannot obtain access to the records, but local, state, and federal governments maintain their access. The relief is akin to confidentiality. Even so, if your record is sealed, you can be shielded against a lender, employer, or landlord conducting a criminal background check, which means that you may be better equipped to get a loan or housing or gain entrance into a university. You can become competitive for many jobs for which you were not previously considered, due to the results of the criminal background check.

Other Types of Expungement

Court-ordered expungement and record sealing are not the only remedies available to people hoping for a fresh start. Under certain circumstances, you may have the option of choosing another form of expungement. Other types of expungement under Florida law include lawful self-defense expungement, administrative expungement, human trafficking expungement, and juvenile diversion expungement. Each of these remedies is governed by a different code section and carries different requirements.

If you were a victim of human trafficking who was arrested or charged with a crime committed while you were a trafficking victim and as a result of being a trafficking victim, for example, our attorneys can help you petition to expunge your record under Florida Statutes section 943.0583. This means that if you were charged with prostitution as a result of being a trafficking victim, you could apply for human trafficking expungement. This form of expungement is completely judicial; you will not need to apply for a certificate of eligibility. If the court grants your petition, the court order will be forwarded for FDLE compliance.

Get Advice from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are choosing between sealing and expunging in Orlando, it is important to retain knowledgeable counsel. You should talk to the criminal defense lawyers at Hanlon Law. We have expunged and sealed thousands of criminal records across Florida, and we can guide you through the appropriate process. Call us at 800.373.1974 or contact us through our online form.

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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