Seal / Expunge Criminal Record
Seal or Expunge your Florida Criminal Record
If your criminal history has prevented you from pursuing certain employment or education opportunities, or if you have committed certain criminal offenses in your past and do not want others to know you have a criminal record, then you may want to have your criminal record sealed or expunged.
Sealing or expunging your criminal record will give you the chance to have a clean slate and pursue certain opportunities you may have missed out on. However, the process to seal or expunge a criminal record has many requirements, and it may be difficult to navigate through the court system without someone who has knowledge about how to seal and expunge a criminal record.
Orlando Record Sealing Lawyer
The attorneys at Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. can help you find out if you’re eligible to seal or expunge your criminal record in Orlando, Florida, and will advise you through the process. Maria D. Hale and Richard O. Hale are experienced with the judicial system in Orlando, and are knowledgeable about Florida’s laws pertaining to sealing and expungement of criminal records. Call the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation today.
Orlando Seal or Expunge Information Center
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Procedure to Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record in Florida
If someone is eligible to seal or expunge their criminal record, they have to follow specific instructions as set forth in Florida’s Statutes. First, someone who is eligible to have their record sealed or expunged is required submit an application to Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a Certificate of Eligibility. The application must be filled out and signed in front of a notary public. The applicant must be fingerprinted by authorized law enforcement personnel, pay a $75 fee, and must present a certified disposition of the case or certified letter of completion that resulted in the criminal record.
After receiving a Certificate of Eligibility, the applicant has to file a petition with the court to have their criminal record sealed or expunged. The petition must include the Certificate of Eligibility, the applicant’s sworn statement that they were not adjudicated guilty or found delinquent for certain offenses, never had a prior record sealed or expunged in Florida or any other state, and that they are eligible for sealing or expunging their record to the best of their knowledge.
Once the petition has been filed with the court, the court will make a ruling whether to grant relief or not. If the court permits your record to be sealed or expunged, the order will be forwarded to the appropriate parties and authorities that the record has been sealed or expunged.
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Who is Eligible Seal or Expunge Their Record
You may be eligible to seal or expunge your criminal record if you meet the following requirements:
- You have not previously been convicted of more than one misdemeanor, felony or criminal ordinance violation in any jurisdiction in the United States;
- As a juvenile, you were not declared delinquent or adjudicated “delinquent” of certain criminal charges as set forth in Florida’s Statutes;
- You have not previously sealed or expunged a criminal record in any jurisdiction; and
- Are currently not under a court ordered supervision or diversion program.
A person is NOT eligible to have their record sealed or expunged if they pled guilty or no contest, or was adjudicated guilty of any of the following offenses, including, but not limited to:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Domestic violence
- Sexual battery
- Trafficking in drugs
- Abuse or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Aircraft piracy
- Burglary of a dwelling
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
- Computer pornography
- Home-invasion robbery
- Human trafficking of minors
- Illegal Use of Explosives
- Lewd acts in the presence of a child
- Luring or enticing a child
- Manufacturing controlled substances
- Sexual activity with a child
- Sexual misconduct with a disabled person or mental health patient
- Sexual performance by a child
- Soliciting minors for prostitution
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
- Attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above listed crimes
Seal or Expunge a Juvenile Record - Juvenile records are typically expunged once the juvenile offender turns 24 years old. There are exceptions. For example, if an offender is over the 17 and commits a forcible felony, their juvenile record will be merged with their adult record. Also, someone who is a Habitual Juvenile Offender will not have their record sealed or expunged until they are 26 years old. Finally, if a juvenile offender is adjudged delinquent for any offense, their record will never be eligible for sealing or expungement, and it will merge with their adult record.
It is important to seek the advice of an attorney who is experienced in expunging or sealing criminal records in order to find out if your particular situation meets the eligibility requirements.
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Benefits of Sealing or Expunging
Sealing or expunging your criminal record will provide many offenders with a second chance for a mistake they may have made many years ago. A few of the many benefits of sealing or expunging a criminal record are:
- Once a criminal record is sealed or expunged, it will no longer be available to the public;
- There is no requirement to disclose a criminal record when applying for certain jobs;
- Someone with a sealed or expunged criminal record is not required to disclose when applying for housing; and
- There is no need to disclose a sealed or expunged record when applying for certain types of education.
Florida law does require the disclosure of a criminal record that has been sealed or expunged in the following situations:
- When applying for employment with a criminal justice agency;
- When seeking employment with the Department of Education and other specified state governmental agencies;
- In any subsequent criminal proceeding when a defendant ;
- In any future requests for sealing or expungement; or
- In an application for admission to the Florida Bar.
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Seal vs. Expunge
Sealing Your Record according to Florida Statutes § 943.059:
In order to seal your criminal record, you must have never previously sealed or expunged a criminal record in any jurisdiction, not entered a plea of guilty to certain criminal offenses, not found guilty by the court of certain criminal offenses, not committed certain offenses, never been convicted of more than one criminal offense, and must have applied for and received a certificate of eligibility to have your record sealed.
When your criminal record is sealed, the public will no longer access to it. The data is removed from the Criminal Information Justice System, and the record will not show up on any background checks for employment or educational opportunities. However, certain governmental entities will still have access to it in order to perform their duties, including criminal justice agencies and certain judges. After your criminal record has been sealed for 10 years, you may then ask the Court to expunge or seal the record.
Expunging Your Record according to Florida Statutes § 943.0585:
In order to expunge your criminal record, you must have not been found guilty or pled guilty to certain criminal offenses, not committed certain offenses, not been convicted of more than one criminal offense, must have had no other criminal records expunged in any jurisdiction, and you must have applied for and received a certificate of eligibility.
When your criminal record is expunged, it is destroyed, and not able to be viewed without a court order. However, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does keep one copy of the record and certain governmental agencies will have access to your criminal record. Additionally, you may be required to disclose the sealing or expunction for certain jobs applications. The government agencies who are permitted to have knowledge of your criminal record will receive a statement indicating the criminal record has been expunged, but they will have no access to the record itself.
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Resources in Orlando for Sealing or Expunging Your Record
Florida Statutes Online to Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record – This website contains all of the laws and statutes governing sealing or expunging your criminal record in the state of Florida, including requirements and offenses that are not eligible.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Seal or Expunge Site – The state governmental unit provides information on their web site how to seal or expunge a criminal record, application packets to seal or expunge and reasons an application may be denied.
Orange County Clerk of Court Seal and Expunge Site – The Orange County Clerk of Court’s office has information how to have your record sealed or expunged, notices to seal documents and required documents to seal or expunge records. The office is located at:
Orange County Clerk of Courts
425 N. Orange Avenue, Suite 410
Orlando, Florida 32801
Phone: (407) 836-2000
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Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. | Orlando Record Expunge Lawyer
Contact the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. today for a consultation about the procedure to seal or expunge your criminal record in Orlando, Florida. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help guide you through the process and help you obtain all the necessary information. Call (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about sealing or expunging your criminal record in Orange County and surrounding areas, including Seminole County, Osceola County, Orlando, Winter Park and Kissimmee.