In certain situations where a person was charged with an offense but there was no conviction, they may be eligible to have their criminal record sealed. Sealing the record restricts access to the information, but does not make it “disappear.” Sealed and expunged records are still accessible by certain types of employers, including the judicial system and law enforcement agencies.
In cases where records can be sealed, expungement becomes available after a period of 10 years. Records must be sealed before they become eligible for expungement. Even if there is no conviction, charges of serious offenses such as homicide, kidnapping, arson, and terrorism (among others) can never be sealed or expunged.
Qualifying juveniles have their records automatically expunged at the age of either 24 or 26, depending on the details of the individual charge. If a juvenile completes a diversion program, or if charges were dismissed, they can petition to have their records sealed.
Sealing and expungement of records is not available for charges in which a person was convicted, and the state of Florida will not allow more than one record to be sealed.
A notable benefit of having a sealed criminal record is that in many situations it is legal for an applicant with a sealed or expunged record to answer “No” when asked if they have ever been accused of an offense.
Why It Is Important to Hire an Attorney
You can pursue the sealing and/or expungement of your criminal record by yourself by submitting a completed request packet to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). However, this is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. It is highly recommended that you seek help from skilled legal representatives, such as the Orlando expungement and sealing lawyers at Bogin, Munns & Munns, instead of trying to handle this process on your own.
To consult with an experienced expungement and sealing criminal record lawyer serving Orlando, call 855-686-6752
The Process Takes a Long Time
In many cases, it can take 12 weeks (or longer during the coronavirus pandemic) for law enforcement to complete a thorough background check on your application for sealing or expungement. The investigation has many moving parts and is designed to discover whether or not you truly qualify for record sealing or expungement. Importantly, there is no expediting this process, and the FDLE analyzes requests in the order they receive them.
However, an attorney can help you prepare a fully executed application packet to minimize your wait time. The last thing you want to do is wait 12 weeks, only to be told that you left out any information necessary to process your request.
Orlando Expungement and Sealing Criminal Record Lawyer Near Me 855-686-6752
The Process Is Complex
Not only do you need to provide the correct information to the FDLE, but you also need to make sure you apply in accordance with the rules. You stand to gain tremendous benefits by having your record sealed or expunged, so it is best to turn to experienced attorneys for assistance and to double-check your work.
The Benefits of Expungement and Record Sealing
There are several benefits you can enjoy in having your criminal record sealed and expunged. In addition to being able to deny legally that the conviction ever occurred (for example, on a job application), the following is also true:
- You may be able to purchase a firearm sooner.
- Court records may be sealed and/or destroyed.
- The charge and conviction may be eliminated from future background checks.
- Your arrest record may be made inaccessible to the public.
The internet is a powerful tool that aids in communication across the globe, but it can also be a terrific bane to someone with a criminal record. Even after you’ve paid your fine and/or spent time in prison, theoretically erasing your debt to society, your record can still follow you online and affect your ability to live, work, and connect with people in the future.
By getting your criminal record expunged or sealed from the public eye, it is possible to live your life free of stigma once again. Our Orlando expungement and sealing criminal records lawyers at Bogin, Munns & Munns are dedicated to fighting for your right to start fresh, leaving your criminal record behind you.
Our Record Expungement attorneys work aggressively to ensure your criminal record matter is handled with the care you should expect from a firm that has been around for over 40 years. With 13 locations throughout Florida, our attorneys are happy to meet you in the location that is most convenient to you. With our Main office in Orlando, we have 12 other offices including Clermont, Cocoa, Daytona, Gainesville, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Melbourne, Ocala, Orange City, St. Cloud, Titusville, and The Villages.