Expungements & Sealings

 
Have you made a mistake in the past? Is that mistake affecting your job prospects? Is that mistake embarrassing to you and your family? If you find yourself in this situation, you may be interested in having your criminal history record sealed or expunged. Under Florida Statute sections 943.0585-943.059 and Florida Administrative Code Chapter 11C-7, you can have your record sealed or expunged. However, there are numerous qualifiers that can affect your eligibility for either of the aforementioned remedies.

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First, you may ask, “what is the difference between a sealing of my record and an expunction of my record?” The best way to describe the difference is that an expunged record means (removed from FDLE and NCIC records) and sealed record means (placed under highly restricted access). Secondly, you may ask, “Am I eligible for either type of relief?” You can be eligible for an expungement if your case was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the State. This includes completing a diversion program. Also, the offense must be dismissed PRIOR to trial. The key to having your record expunged is that you cannot enter a plea. If you enter a plea, you will only be eligible for a sealing. In addition, you cannot be convicted if you enter a plea. Thus, in order to be eligible for a sealing, you must have had a withhold of adjudication.

Another question you may have is, “What if I have multiple arrests?” The court may only order expunction/sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity. The court may, at its sole discretion, order the expunction/sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. If the court intends to order the expunction/sealing of records pertaining to such additional arrests, such intent must be specified in the order. This section does not prevent the court from ordering the expunction/sealing of only a portion of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity.

Lastly, there are certain offenses and other factors that can disqualify you altogether from having your record sealed or expunged. Here is a list of disqualifying factors:

  1. The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation or adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s.943.051(3)b. Certain driving violations are classified as criminal, such as DUI, reckless driving, and (with some exceptions) driving while license is suspended/canceled/revoked.
  2. The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing one or more of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains.
  3. The criminal history record reflects that you have received a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under s.943.0585, s.943.059, former s.893.14, former s.901.33, former s.943.058, or from any jurisdiction outside the state.
  4. The criminal history record to which the application pertains relates to a violation of s 393.135, s. 394.4593, s.787.025, chapter 794, s.796.03, s.800.04, s.810.14, s.817.034, s.825.1025, s.827.071, chapter 839, s.847.0133, s.847.0135, s.847.0145, s.893.135, s.916.1075 a violation enumerated in s.907.041, or a violation of any offense qualifying for registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435, F.S., with a finding of guilt, or a plea or guilty or nolo contendre (without regard to whether adjudication was withheld).
  5. The criminal history record reflects that you have another petition to seal or expunge pending before a court or competent jurisdiction.
  6. The criminal history record reflects that the court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains has not been completed.

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9.4Christopher John Atcachunas
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