We receive a lot of calls from people in Florida who are applying for a job, are up for some sort of promotion or are going through an employment related background check and run into trouble when the employer finds a past criminal record. If this is something you have faced, or may face in the future, you should be aware that the law allows you to seal or expunge a prior criminal record in Florida depending on the circumstances of those charges and the ultimate disposition of the case. If you have a criminal record in Florida but the charges were dropped/dismissed or the judge withheld adjudication when you entered a plea of guilty or no contest, you may be eligible to have that criminal record expunged or sealed. Once that process is completed, Florida law allows you to deny, or leave off a job application, the arrest that led to the charge(s) that was ultimately sealed or expunged. That prior criminal record would be something just about all potential employers would never see.
That is one question that we often get from clients- who can see my criminal record in Florida once I have had it sealed or expunged? The answer is very few people. Under the Florida statutes, once your record has been sealed or expunged, you can still get a copy of your prior record and the various police departments and prosecutors’ offices can see it if you get arrested on a new case and they want to run your record. As for potential employers, if you apply for a job with a criminal justice agency, if you apply to a state Bar to become a lawyer, if you apply for a job with the Department of Child and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Education, they can still see it. Private employers that are not contracting with the above-mentioned entities should not have access to a sealed or expunged criminal record.
For the most part, employers are not going to see a criminal record in Florida that has been sealed or expunged when they otherwise would if you did not get the criminal record sealed or expunged. If you have any questions about whether you are eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.