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Record Sealing and Expungement in Florida

Do you get anxious every time you are filling out a job application because you know you will have to disclose your prior criminal record? The life-long negative repercussions of having a criminal record can be devastating. Our attorneys do not think that people should be forced to carry the stigma of certain prior criminal records, and we are eager to assist you today. 

What do Expungements Accomplish? 

When a criminal record is expunged, it is considered permanently erased. As a result, in cases where people were previously sentenced due to a crime, but had their records expunged, all evidence, including the physical records, is destroyed.

Those previously charged with a crime are legally permitted to claim that they were not arrested, accused, or criminally charged, after having their records expunged. Nevertheless, we still recommend consulting with an attorney if your record was expunged, in case you are planning on running in an election, applying for a security clearance, or applying for any professional licenses. Certain regulations still oblige you to disclose details of your criminal charges.

What Does Sealing Accomplish? 

When a criminal record is sealed, it cannot be viewed by anyone except: 

  1. The subject of the record;
  2. The subject’s attorney;
  3. Criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes, which include conducting a criminal history background check for approval of firearms purchases or transfers as authorized by state or federal law;
  4. Judges in the state courts system for the purpose of assisting them in their case-related decision-making responsibilities;
  5. Entities such as the Florida Bar for licensing access authorization and employment purposes.

A person whose record is sealed my lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed record, except when the subject of the record:

  1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
  2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
  3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for sealing or expungment;
  4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
  5. Is 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;
  6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, a district school board, a university laboratory school, a charter school, a private or parochial school, or a local governmental entity that licenses childcare facilities;
  7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law;
  8. Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services;
  9. Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian under the Court;
  10. Is 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. This subparagraph applies only in the determination of an applicant’s eligibility under s. 790.06.

(c) Subject to the exceptions stated may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person’s failure to recite or acknowledge a sealed criminal history record.

Are you Eligible for a Sealing? 

Special circumstances must be present in order for your case to be deemed eligible for Sealing. Some of the grounds for having your criminal record expunged include:

  • The charges against the defendant were dismissed;
  • The defendant was acquitted of the charges or found not guilty;
  • The defendant was given a withheld adjudication of guilt at the time of sentencing;
  • The defendant was considered a juvenile at the time of the crime.

Are you Eligible for an Expungement? 

Special circumstances must be present in order for your case to be deemed eligible for expungement. Some of the grounds for having your criminal record expunged include:

  • The charges against the defendant were dismissed;
  • The defendant was acquitted of the charges or found not guilty;
  • Victims of human trafficking that were arrested or convicted of prostitution or obscenity are eligible for expungement; and
  • The defendant was considered a juvenile at the time of the crime.

Cases Where Offenders are Ineligible for Expungement or Sealing of Records 

Offenders that have already had their records previously sealed or expunged are not eligible for expungement. Additionally, offenders currently under court supervision, such as probation, parole or house arrest are also ineligible. Criminal charges that resulted in a withholding of adjudication or acquittal cannot be expunged unless the record has been sealed for no less than 10 years.

Also, certain crimes, were the offender pled guilty or was found guilty cannot be expunged. Some of these crimes include:

  • Arson;
  • Use of explosives;
  • Child abuse;
  • Homicide;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Trafficking of controlled substances;
  • Robbery;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Lewd or indecent behavior in the presence of a minor under 16 years old;
  • Abuse of a disabled or elderly person;
  • Kidnapping; and
  • Conspiring to commit any of the above offenses.

Contact Us Today for Help 

The consequences of having a criminal record are permanent and carry numerous negative consequences, unless you qualify for an expungement. If you are eligible for an expungement, we recommend calling an experienced expungement attorney as soon as possible.

The knowledgeable lawyers at Baginski Brandt & Brandt will inform you of all your legal options. We are dedicated and determined to assist our clients create a future unrestricted by the stigma of committing a crime. We will employ our vast knowledge and understanding of Florida’s criminal justice system in order to get you the best possible results.

The Port St. Lucie criminal attorneys at Baginski Brandt & Brandt have over 60 years of combined legal experience. You can count on our qualified team to tenaciously fight to expunge your records. Call today at 772-466-0707 or contact us online to discuss your possible expungement in more detail.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0800-0899/0806/Sections/0806.01.html

https://www.bbblegal.com/why-are-more-americans-than-ever-getting-busted/

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Port St. Lucie 8495 S. FEDERAL HWY.
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL 34952
Stuart By Appointment Only 27 SE Ocean Blvd
Stuart, FL 34994
Fort Pierce By Appointment Only 311 S 2nd St., Suite 102b
Fort Pierce, FL 34950
Telephone: 772-466-0707 Fax: 772-223-9290 or 772-466-0907 Office Hours: 8:30 to 5:00pm M-F
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