Record Sealing / Expungement

You might think that the penalties for your conviction end once you complete the conditions of your sentence. Unfortunately, for most a criminal conviction haunts them long after they’ve finished their sentence. You will still have your criminal charges, arrest and conviction on your public record for anyone to see. This can impact your ability to obtain employment, loans, housing or admissions into a university.

The lasting evidence of your criminal conviction can have a serious impact on your lie. You could have issues going forward in your professional career or educational goals simply because of a mistake you made years ago. Thankfully, the state of Florida does offer sealing or expungement for people who meet the requirements. To learn how you can get your criminal history sealed or expunged, we recommend you obtain legal representation.

Criminal Record Sealing Attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida

Expunging or sealing your criminal record can lead to a significant impact on both your personal and professional life. It will mean you can legally answer no when asked in an interview if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. The simple ability to say no to this question could open doors up to professions you’ve always wanted, colleges that wouldn’t accept you before, loan possibilities and more.

If you’re in need of legal representation, it’s important you call a criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., our attorneys have been able to file numerous expunctions and sealing requests in the state of Florida. We understand the process and the best way to get approved for sealing or expungement. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to learn more details during your first free consultation.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton and Wellington.

Overview of Expunging or Sealing Records in Fl

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What’s the Difference Between Expunging and Sealing Your Records in Florida?

You may have heard the terms “expunging” and “sealing” being interchanged in regard to criminal records. Although both procedures are similar, they produce different outcomes. Both expunging and sealing your record will remove your criminal records from public view and allow you to deny the existence of an arrest or conviction. However, only expunction will lead to your criminal records being physically destroyed.

The following are the benefits and differences between sealing and expunging your conviction.

  • Sealing – When your records are sealed the general public won’t have access to your criminal records any longer. They will be considered confidential and no one will be able to bring it up using a background check or public record search. However, certain employment industries and government entities will be able to have access to your records. In addition, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will keep a record of your arrest as well as the arresting agency.
  • Expungement – If you qualify for expungement, then your criminal records will be physically destroyed. Expungement may have strict requirements but has a great pay off. No person will be able to access your record, and only the FDLE will keep a limited confidential record of your criminal history.

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Crimes Ineligible for Sealing or Expunction in Florida

Not everyone is able to have their crime expunged or sealed. Only those with a withhold adjudication of guilty can seal their record. You cannot have been convicted for any other offense and couldn’t have participated in any diversion program or other type of court supervision. Most people who have their record sealed were first time offenders who had their guilt withheld for a minor crime.

Expunction, however, is much stricter than sealing your record. The only way to have your charges expunged is if your case was resolved without a plea by having your charges being dismissed, no formal charges were filed at all or the court dropped the charges after some consideration. Additionally, you will have to wait at least ten years since your criminal record was sealed to qualify for expunction.

Certain criminal charges are simply not eligible for expunction or sealing, even if the adjudication was withheld. These crimes can include:

  • Computer pornography; traveling to meet minor;
  • Criminal conduct by public employees and officials;
  • Providing obscene material to minors;
  • Robbery;
  • Selling or buying of minors;
  • Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18;
  • Sexual battery;
  • Sexual misconduct between an employee and a mentally ill patient;
  • Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person;
  • Drug trafficking;
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age, an elderly person, or a disabled person;
  • Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault upon or in presence of a child under 16;
  • Luring or enticing a child;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Manufacturing controlled substances;
  • Predicate offenses for registration as a sexual predator;
  • Procuring a minor for prostitution;
  • Florida Communications Fraud Act;
  • Home invasion robbery;
  • Homicide;
  • Illegal use of explosives;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Sexual performance by a child;
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking;
  • Voyeurism; and
  • Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes

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If My Record is Expunged or Sealed, Do I Have to Disclose It in Florida?

Most people getting interviewed for a profession are asked the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” If you were able to have your records sealed or expunged, then the answer is yes. Florida law allows you to legally deny or fail to acknowledge an arrest if your record was sealed or expunged. The only way you cannot legally deny o fail to acknowledge an arrest or charges is if:

  • You’re applying to work for or be a contractor for any job with direct contact with children, the elderly or the developmentally disabled;
  • You’re applying to work at or have access to a seaport;
  • You’re applying to change your immigration status;
  • You’re facing pending criminal charges;
  • You’re applying to:
    • The Department of Juvenile Justice;
    • The Agency for Health Care Administration;
    • The Department of Children and Family Services;
    • The Department of Education; or
    • Any other local government entity that is a licensed child care facility.
  • You’re applying for the Florida Bar; or
  • You’re petitioning to seal or expunge your criminal record

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Additional Resources

Sealing and Expunge Process – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLDE) to learn more about sealing and expunctions in Florida. Learn about the different types of crimes eligible and ineligible for sealing or expungement and the paperwork invovled in getting it done.

Frequently Asked Questions – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to answers to frequently asked questions surrounding sealing or expunction in the state of Florida. Find out how you can get your record sealed or expunged, what government agencies can still see your records after sealing and more.

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Attorney for Sealing or Expunging in Palm Beach County, Florida

Has your life been majorly impacted by your past criminal charges? Are you trying to move on but it seems like life won’t let you? If that’s the case, then we highly encourage you to get in contact with the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our lawyers have been practicing defense for years and can utilize our skills for your case.

You can reach us at (561) 557-8686 to set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Wellington and Boca Raton.

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