Sealing Records and Expungement
People are increasingly required nowadays to submit to background checks, whether it is in regards to employment, loan applications, or housing. If a person has been arrested in Florida, the alleged offense that he or she was taken into custody for appears on that individual’s criminal record—even if he or she was never adjudicated guilty.
Some alleged offenders are eligible to seal or expunge their criminal records so the general public no longer has access to them and the individuals are not legally required to acknowledge the arrests in many circumstances. The rules governing the expungement and record sealing process differ depending on the criminal offenses involved and people are limited in the number of times they can seal or expunge criminal records.Lawyer for Sealing Records and Expungement in Broward County, FL
Are you looking for a way to have your criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida? You will want to contact The Hoffman Firm for help ensuring that all of your necessary paperwork is handled properly.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who represents clients in Plantation, Hallandale Beach, Margate, Hollywood, Miramar, and several nearby areas of Broward County. Call (954) 524-4474 today to have our lawyer review your case and answer your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Sealing Records and Expunction in Fort Lauderdale
- How is sealing a criminal record different from expunging a criminal record?
- Which types of arrests cannot be sealed or expunged?
- Where can I learn more about sealing records and expunction in Broward County?
Difference Between Sealing Records and Expungement in Florida
Sealing a criminal record is not the same as expunging one. While there are certain general similarities between the two processes, the end results are quite different.
The two Florida Statutes that govern these procedures include:
- Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records, Florida Statute §943.059 — When a person has a criminal record sealed, the public does not have access to it. Under Florida Statute § 943.059(4)(a), however, people cannot deny or fail to acknowledge their arrests if they are applying to change their immigration statuses, are defendants in criminal cases, are candidates for employment with criminal justice agencies, 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, a district school board, a university laboratory school, a charter school, a private or parochial school, or a local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities, are 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, 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, or 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. Individuals are allowed to have their criminal records sealed when courts withhold adjudication of guilt in their criminal cases.
- Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records, Florida Statute §943.0585 — When a person has a criminal record expunged, the actual record is physically destroyed and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) maintains a limited record of the person’s criminal history. Entities that would otherwise have access to sealed records are informed that the subjects of the criminal records have had those records expunged, but would not have access to the records themselves without court orders. People are allowed to have their records expunged if formal charges were never filed, their cases were dismissed, they were acquitted by a judge or jury, or 10 years have elapsed since their criminal records were sealed.
Offenses Ineligible for Sealing or Expunction in Broward County
Individuals are ineligible to seal or expunge criminal records if they were adjudicated guilty, in any diversion program or under court supervision, or previously had separate offenses sealed or expunged from their criminal records. Arrests for certain other violations can also result in alleged offenders being unable to seal or expunge their criminal records—even if adjudication was withheld.
Some of the disqualifying charges for record sealing or expungement include:
- A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under Florida Statute § 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under Florida Statute § 943.0435;
- Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Act of domestic violence;
- Act of terrorism;
- Aggravated assault;
- Aggravated battery;
- Aircraft piracy;
- Burglary of a dwelling;
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
- Computer pornography;
- Home invasion robbery;
- Illegal use of explosives;
- Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled adult;
- Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age;
- Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in presence of a child under the age of 16 years;
- Luring or enticing a child;
- Manufacturing any substances in violation of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act;
- Offenses by public officers and employees under Chapter 839 of the Florida Statutes;
- Procuring person under 18 for prostitution;
- Selling or buying of minors;
- 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;
- Sexual battery and related offenses under Chapter 794 of the Florida Statutes;
- Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses;
- Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses;
- Sexual misconduct with mentally ill person and related offenses;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Showing, etc., obscene literature to minor;
- Stalking and aggravated stalking;
- Trafficking in controlled substances;
- Violations of the Florida Communication Fraud Act;
- Voyeurism; and
- Attempting or conspiring to commit any crime listed above.
Florida Resources for Sealing Records and Expungement
Felony Frequently Asked Questions | Broward County Clerk of Court — On this section of the Clerk of the Courts Office’s website, you can find answers to frequently asked questions about felony offenses—including a question about sealing or expunging a criminal record. The website explains some of the fees that applicants must pay as well as how the record sealing and expungement process works. Learn more about what the Clerk’s Office does after a judge approves a motion to have a criminal record sealed or expunged.
Clerk of the Courts
201 S.E. 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
FDLE | Seal and Expunge — Visit this section of the FDLE website to download the expunge/seal package containing all documents required for expungement or sealing of criminal records. You can also find instructions for applying for a Certificate of Eligibility and a final application checklist as well as a list of reasons for denial of petitions. The website also contains a list of answers to some of the frequently asked questions about sealing or expunging criminal records.
If you want to seal or expunge your criminal record in Florida, it will be in your best interest to seek legal representation in order to make sure that all of your required paperwork is handled correctly. The Hoffman Firm represents clients in Davie, Lauderhill, Cooper City, Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines, and many surrounding areas of Broward County.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman is a former Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. He can provide a full evaluation of your case when you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.