Articles Posted in Sealings & Expunctions

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In Florida, when a person gets arrested for a crime, he/she may have an opportunity to clear up his/her record depending on how the criminal case proceeds. If the charges are ultimately dismissed, the person is eligible to have that criminal record expunged. If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest and the judge ultimately withholds adjudication, the person is eligible to have the criminal record sealed depending on the nature of the charge. The Florida legislature has determined which crimes are eligible for sealing. Assuming a person is eligible for a sealing or expunction, there is a process that must be undertaken to have the criminal record sealed or expunged. It involves getting a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and filing a motion to expunge or seal the criminal record with the judge assigned to the case. Once the judge orders the criminal record to be sealed or expunged, the clerk’s office sends the order to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and the criminal record is sealed or expunged at that time.

As indicated, a judge has to agree to sign the order sealing or expunging the criminal record. Once the criminal defense lawyer files the motion to seal or expunge the criminal record, the prosecutor has a right to object to the motion or agree to it. Either way, it is ultimately up to the judge. However, the judge may not deny the motion to seal or expunge the criminal record based solely on the nature of the charge. The judge can look into the underlying facts of the case and deny the motion based on those facts, but the charge alone is not a proper basis to deny the motion to seal or expunge the record. The Florida legislature has determined which crimes can or cannot be sealed. As a result, the judge may not override that decision by denying someone’s attempt to seal or expunge his/her record based on the charge when the Florida legislature has already established that the charge is eligible to be sealed or expunged.

A criminal record can be a very significant obstacle when trying to get a job, especially when the job market is tight. Even if you were arrested and the charges were dropped, the arrest and the charge will still show up on your record if you do not take action to clean up your record. If you have any questions about sealing or expunging a criminal record, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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As criminal defense lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida, we get a lot of calls from people who are applying for jobs, looking to switch to a new job, perhaps getting a promotion or otherwise are making some sort of important career move but are hindered by a criminal record. They are either concerned that a new employer may see their criminal record or a background check was already done that uncovered a criminal record that is creating a serious obstacle in their career advancement.

The best thing to do in a situation like that is to have the criminal record sealed or expunged. However, because Florida law only allows a person to have a criminal record sealed or expunged in limited circumstances, many people are not eligible for this service. There are several rules dealing with who is or is not eligible for a sealing or expunction. However, one basic rule is that if you have ever been adjudicated guilty of a crime, you cannot get your criminal record sealed or expunged. This rule affects a lot of people and is the number one reason why a person is not eligible under Florida law to have a criminal record sealed or expunged.

It is very important for a person who has just been arrested or who has a pending criminal case to understand what happens when the case is resolved. When a person enters a plea of guilty or no contest, the judge can do one of two things. The judge can adjudicate the person guilty or withhold adjudication. Those words probably do not mean much to the average person, but they are crucial when it comes time to seal or expunge a criminal record. If the judge adjudicates a person guilty for any crime, that person may not get any crime sealed or expunged. If the judge withholds adjudication at sentencing, that person remains eligible for sealing or expunction depending on other factors.

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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.

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This is something we are hearing quite often these days as the economy is struggling and many people are looking for jobs. Many people contact us who are either worried that a prospective employer may see something on their criminal record that may prevent them from being hired or have applied for a job only to be told that their criminal record disqualifies them from the position they are seeking. Or in some cases, current employers have performed background checks and discovered a criminal record that resulted in the person being fired.

The ability to seal or expunge your criminal record can be a very helpful tool to make sure a past mistake does not come back to hurt you in your job search or current job. Sealing or expunging a criminal record is the best way to keep information about a past crime from potential or current employers.

If you have had a prior criminal case that was either dropped or resolved with the adjudication withheld, you very well may be eligible to have that criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida. If you have questions about your criminal record and whether or not you are eligible to have it sealed or expunged, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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When a person calls us at Shorstein & Lasnetski, LLC and asks about getting a prior criminal record sealed or expunged, we are often faced with the situation of a person with multiple arrests. The person wants to know if he/she can have his/her entire criminal record sealed or expunged. The first question is whether that person is eligible to have any arrest or criminal disposition sealed or expunged. We can answer that question fairly quickly at a free consultation over the phone or in our office.

Assuming a person is eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida, Florida law does not allow him/her to have multiple, different criminal records sealed or expunged. Florida law says that a person can only seal or expunge one criminal record. As part of the sealing or expunction process, the applicant has to swear that he/she has never had a criminal record sealed or expunged before. In other words, you can only do it once.

However, I mentioned that you cannot have multiple, different criminal records sealed or expunged in Florida. If you have multiple charges that were part of the same incident, assuming you are eligible, you can have all of the charges related to that incident sealed or expunged. For example, assume you were pulled over for reckless driving, the officer thought you were drunk and arrested you for DUI and then said you gave him a false name and resisted arrest, you may have four criminal charges as part of that one incident. If those charges were later dropped, you might be eligible to have the criminal records related to all four charges expunged because they were part of the same incident.

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The law office of Shorstein & Lasnektski, LLC receives a lot of calls from people who want to get a criminal record sealed or expunged in Jacksonville, Florida and other parts of Florida. The discussion typically starts with whether the person is eligible to have the particular criminal record sealed or expunged. This post does not discuss under what circumstances a person is eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged. For questions about whether you are eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida, please contact us for a free consultation.

In this post, we are discussing what effects getting a criminal record sealed or expunged will have on your record once the process is completed. When a criminal record is sealed, the public cannot get access to it. However, certain government agencies do have access to it. For instance, if you are seeking employment with a criminal justice agency, applying to take a bar exam to become a lawyer or seeking employment with the Department of Child and Family Services, to name a few examples, those entities can access a sealed record. However, private employers will not have access to your criminal record once it is sealed.

When you have your criminal record expunged, the public cannot see your criminal record and private employers cannot see your criminal record. Those same government entities that can see a sealed criminal record will not be able to see your criminal record. They will only be informed that you have had a criminal record expunged but would not see the criminal record unless they obtain a court order, which is rare.

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We get a lot of calls from people in the Jacksonville, Florida area and throughout Florida who want to know about sealing or expunging a criminal record. Sealing or expunging a criminal record can be a powerful tool for people who are concerned that a past mistake that shows up on their criminal record may affect their ability to get a good job or further their education.

When we get calls from people who want to know if their criminal record can be sealed or expunged, the first thing we usually discuss is whether they are eligible to have the particular criminal record sealed or expunged. Florida law dictates whether or not a person is eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged. The circumstances that determine whether a person can have a criminal record sealed or expunged are too in-depth to go over in this post. If you have a question as to whether you are eligible to have a criminal record sealed or expunged, feel free to contact us for a free consultation, and we can answer that question for you.

Once it is determined that you are eligible to have a criminal record expunged or sealed, it is important to understand that the process can take a few months. If you have a job interview or school application coming up and want to have a criminal record sealed or expunged, it is important to start the process quickly so the order to have your criminal record sealed or expunged can be signed by a judge and disseminated to the proper entities in plenty of time. The first step is to get fingerprinted and have the fingerprint form filled out. There is also an Application for Certificate of Eligibility that you need to sign and have notarized. With those documents, we can obtain the other information, signatures and court documents needed to send a package to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) so you can be certified as eligible. The FDLE charges $75 for the certification process and takes 6 – 8 weeks to respond once they receive the package. Once the FDLE certifies that you are eligible to have the particular criminal record sealed or expunged, we prepare and file a motion and proposed order for the judge. Once the judge signs the order to seal or expunge your record, several copies go to the clerk’s office in the county where the criminal record is kept. For a fee, the clerk’s office distributes the signed order to the FDLE and local police agency who then seals or expunges your record. The entire process necessarily takes a few months.

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If you have been arrested for a crime in Jacksonville or any other part of Florida, or if you have been arrested and formally charged with a crime in Florida, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged. The Florida legislature has enacted laws which indicate when a person can or cannot expunge a criminal record, but those laws allow a person to expunge a criminal record in limited circumstances.

If you have been arrested for a crime in Florida, the following are some of the circumstances under which the law does not allow you to have that criminal record expunged. If you were arrested for a crime, formally charged and entered a plea of guilty or no contest to that charge, Florida law does not allow you to expunge that criminal record whether you were adjudicated guilty by the judge, i.e. convicted of the charge, or the judge withheld adjudication. In other words, a person who is arrested for a crime is only eligible to have that criminal record expunged if either formal charges were never brought against him/her or formal charges were brought but then completely dismissed. If a plea of guilty or no contest was entered, Florida law does not allow an expunction of that record (but that person may be eligible to have that criminal record sealed, which is different from expunging a record).

Even where charges were dropped, Florida law only allows a person to expunge a criminal record in certain situations. For instance, if the person was arrested on a particularly serious charge, the law does not allow the record to be expunged. Additionally, depending on the person’s criminal record other than the criminal charge at issue, he/she may or may not be eligible to have the criminal record expunged. Although, keep in mind that a person may not be eligible to have a record expunged but may be eligible to have the same criminal record sealed.

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When a person gets arrested in Jacksonville, or anywhere else in Florida, it can leave a permanent mark on one’s criminal record that future employers and others can see. This is true even if the criminal charge(s) is baseless and ultimately the charge(s) is reduced or dropped. There is a remedy that can prevent most people and prospective employers from seeing the criminal record. The law allows a person to have a criminal record sealed or expunged in certain limited circumstances. This post will deal with sealing a criminal record; a future post will deal with expunging a criminal record.

Florida law indicates when a person can or cannot seal a criminal record. If a person is arrested for a crime, is formally charged with a crime and enters a plea of guilty or no contest, he/she still may be able to have that criminal record sealed if the judge withholds adjudication for the crime. If, in the alternative, the judge adjudicates the defendant guilty, Florida law says that record cannot be sealed. As a result, for anyone who has been arrested and charged with a crime in Florida and who may want that criminal record sealed, it is important to discuss the difference between a withhold of adjudication and an adjudication of guilt with the criminal defense lawyer prior to entering a plea of guilty or no contest.

If a criminal defendant in Florida pleads guilty or no contest to a crime and the judge withholds adjudication, sealing that criminal record remains an option. However, Florida law still may not allow the criminal record to be sealed if the charge is one of the listed charges that cannot be sealed. Additionally, the person’s prior criminal record may also be a factor in determining whether the law allows a person to seal a criminal record.