Having a criminal record in Florida can be limiting in a number of ways. When it comes up on a background check for a job, an apartment or a school application, you may find yourself passed over or denied. At The Law Offices of Craig J. Brown, P.A., it is our goal to help clients minimize the effects of a past arrest or criminal record through expungement or record sealing whenever they are eligible.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement explains details about these two options.
Both sealing and expunging a record make it inaccessible to the public, but there are some government authorities and related entities that may still be able to see the entire record if it is sealed. After expungement, most authorities and entities that would have been able to access a sealed record will only be able to see that there has been a record expunged. However, they may be able to see it with a court order.
Only certain events may be sealed or expunged. For example, an arrest that did not result in a conviction or charges that were dropped may be eligible, so that there is no arrest on your record. There are a number of misdemeanors that may also be eligible, not including most violent crimes, weapons crimes, sex offenses, drug trafficking, arson and theft.
A Certificate of Eligibility must be acquired from the FDLE before filing, but this does not guarantee sealing or expungement. Even if you meet all the requirements, the final decision is up to the court.
More information about criminal defense options is available on our webpage.