Sealing or Expunging
Sealing or expunging a criminal record in Florida is a popular method of concealing one’s criminal history from the public eye or potential employers. Sealing a record in Florida means the criminal record is placed in an envelope, with the envelope later sealed and sent to a storage facility. The individual’s record when sealed will also be removed from the public court online database. An expunged record is almost the same as a sealed record but the record is supposed to be destroyed instead of simply placed into an envelope and sealed. In the opinion of most criminal attorneys in Miami, an expungement is in most circumstances preferable to a sealing.
While circuit and county courts in Miami-Dade grant Orders to Expunge criminal records, the determination of whether an applicant is eligible for a sealing or expunging is made by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record
There are small differences between sealing and expunging a criminal record, which are best discussed with a criminal attorney familiar with your individual circumstances. The biggest difference is a sealed record can be re-opened with a court order in the event any documents within the court file are needed by the defendant at a later date. This happens sometimes for immigration purposes when the government is requesting extra documentation from an immigrant applicant.
Disqualifiers from Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Arrest
It is important to remember that you cannot seal or expunge your record if you have received a conviction for a crime before. A conviction for a DUI or criminal traffic infraction will also render you ineligible to seal or expunge your record. A disqualifying conviction does not need to be from Florida, a conviction from any other state will keep you from sealing or expunging your record.
Certain crimes may never be sealed or expunged if the defendant was found guilty or took a plea. These crimes are:
Illegal use of explosives
Child abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse
Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
Burglary of a dwelling
Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
Act of Domestic Violence as defined in s. 741.28 F.S.
Act of Terrorism as defined by s. 775.30 F.S.
Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893
Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes
Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses
Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses
Luring or enticing a child
Sexual Battery and related offenses
Procuring person under 18 for prostitution
Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years
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 a person in familial or custodial authority
Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
Florida Communication Fraud Act
Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person
Sexual performance by a child
Offenses By Public Officers and Employees.
Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor
Selling or buying of minors
Trafficking in controlled substances
Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses
A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Miami
If you or someone you know is interested in sealing or expunging their criminal arrest, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Pagan & Stroleny, P.L. Our office frequently seals and expunges criminal records with a proven track record of success. Call our downtown Miami office now for your free criminal case consultation, (305) 615-1285.