Sealing Criminal Records in Fort Lauderdale
After being arrested, many people assume that being found not guilty or having the criminal charges dropped means that the criminal record of the arrest goes away. Unfortunately, an arrest in Florida remains a matter of public record even if the arrested individual was never convicted of the crime in question.
The good news is that state law does allow individuals in these situations to have their criminal records sealed or expunged so they can legally deny that they were ever arrested. The process of sealing or expunging a criminal record, however, can be extremely complicated and has numerous restrictions not only on the number of times people can seal or expunge records but also the kinds of offenses that may be sealed or expunged.
If you are currently exploring how to seal or expunge your criminal record in Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel to ensure you satisfy all the necessary requirements. The Hoffman Firm helps clients all over the greater Mimi-Dade County area. Our Miami expungement attorney knows how to walk clients through the process successfully.
Contact an attorney immediately to ensure your freedom and escape legal penalties. Call (305) 928-1669 or fill out our online contact form if you are in Miami. Call 954-737-3004 if you are in Broward County. Se habla español.
Sealing Records vs. Expunction in Florida
Whether a person has a criminal record sealed or expunged, either process will remove the record from public view. Beyond the similar result, what actually happens to the criminal record involved is quite different.
If a criminal record has been sealed, a record confidentially remains on file with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) as well as the courthouse and criminal justice agency that handled the case, but the record is not viewable by the public.
When a person has a criminal record expunged, the record is physically destroyed and the FDLE maintains a confidential limited record of the person’s criminal history.
Individuals who have had their criminal records expunged or sealed may lawfully deny or refuse to acknowledge the arrests covered by their expunged or sealed records, except when they:
- Are candidates for employment with criminal justice agencies
- Are defendants in criminal prosecutions
- Concurrently or subsequently petition for relief under Florida Statute § 943.059 (Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records), Florida Statute § 943.0585 (Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records), or Florida Statute § 943.0583 (Human trafficking victim expunction)
- Are candidates for admission to the Florida Bar
- Are seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Families, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, or the Department of Juvenile Justice; or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly
- Are seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses childcare facilities
- Are seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services
- Are seeking to be appointed as a guardian
- Are attempting to purchase firearms from licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, or licensed dealers and are subject to criminal history checks under state or federal law
- Are seeking to be licensed by the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm
Crimes That Cannot Be Sealed or Expunged
People cannot seal or expunge their records if they were ever adjudicated guilty, if they are in any diversion program or under court supervision, or if they have previously sealed or expunged separate offenses from their criminal records. Alleged offenders also cannot seal or expunge criminal records if they were found guilty or pleaded guilty or nolo contrendere (no contest) to certain violations of state law even when adjudication was withheld.
Individuals are ineligible to have their records sealed or expunged if their arrests involved any one of the following offenses classified as a “dangerous crime” under Florida Statute § 907.041(4)(a):
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Illegal use of explosives
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
- Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
- Aircraft piracy
- Sexual battery
- Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in presence of a child under the age of 16 years
- Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of person in familial or custodial authority
- Burglary of a dwelling
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
- Act of domestic violence
- Home invasion robbery
- Act of terrorism
- Manufacturing any substances in violation of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act
- Attempting or conspiring to commit any crime listed above
Reach Out to The Hoffman Firm
Do you need help sealing or expunging your criminal record in Florida? The Hoffman Firm assists clients with the complex paperwork involved in criminal record sealing and expunction cases. Our expunction attorney in Miami is here for you every step of the way.
Plan your defense strategy today by calling (305) 928-1669 if you are Miami. Call 954-737-3004 if you are in Broward County.
Our Firm is dedicated to client satisfaction. We are available 24/7 to help those in need.
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