Sealing & Expunging

 

Florida Statute 943.053, makes adult criminal history records public. the only way to prevent members of the general public from viewing these highly sensitive items is to have your record Sealed or Expunged.

Under Florida Statute 943.045(16) to “expunge” a record means:

“[t]he court-ordered physical destruction or obliteration of a record or portion of a record by any criminal justice agency having custody thereof, or as prescribed by the court issuing the order, except that criminal history records in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases for purposes of evaluating subsequent requests by the subject of the record for sealing or expunction, or for purposes of recreating the record in the event an order to expunge is vacated by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

The term “seal” is defined under subsection 19 as:

“[t]he preservation of a record under such circumstances that it is secure and inaccessible to any person not having a legal right of access to the record or the information contained and preserved therein.”

This means that the record will continue to be on file by applicable criminal justice agencies and clerk’s offices, but will be confidential and exempt from public disclosure.

BENEFITS OF SEALING AND EXPUNGING A CRIMINAL RECORD

  • Protecting a person’s criminal past from public view;

  • Avoiding employers or schools from viewing the record;

  • Not having to disclose the arrest or charge to employers or schools;

  • Preventing the record from being found on a background check;

  • Preserving or protecting someone’s reputation in the community.

EXCEPTIONS TO DISCLOSURE

There are limited exceptions to the rule where disclosure of a criminal record is still required, regardless if it has been sealed or expunged. Under Sections 943.0585(4)(a) and 943.059(4)(a), Florida Statutes, a person must make a truthful disclosure of his or her criminal history information (upon proper request) if he or she:

  • Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;

  • Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;

  • Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief;

  • Is a candidate for admission to the Florida Bar;

  • Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Families, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly;

  • Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;

  • Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services; or

  • Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian;

  • Is attempting to purchase a firearm and is subject to a criminal history check

INELIGIBLE OFFENSES FOR SEALING AND EXPUNGING

  • Section 393.135- sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person);

  • Section 394.4593- sexual misconduct between an employee and a mentally ill patient;

  • Section 787.025- luring or enticing a child;

  • Chapter 794- sexual battery;

  • Section 796.03- procuring a minor for prostitution;

  • Section 800.04- lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age;

  • Section 810.14- voyeurism;

  • Section 817.034- Florida Communications Fraud Act;

  • Section 825.1025- lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person;

  • Section 827.071- sexual performance by a child;

  • Chapter 839- criminal conduct by public employees and officials;

  • Section 847.0133- providing obscene material to minors;

  • Section 847.0135- computer pornography; traveling to meet minor;

  • Section 847.0145- selling or buying of minors;

  • Section 893.135- drug trafficking (controlled substances, including cannabis);

  • Any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to Section 775.21;

  • Offenses specified in Section 907.041, including:

    • Arson;

    • Aggravated assault;

    • Aggravated battery;

    • Illegal use of explosives;

    • Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;

    • Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;

    • Aircraft piracy;

    • Kidnapping;

    • Homicide;

    • Manslaughter;

    • Sexual battery;

    • Robbery;

    • Carjacking;

    • Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault upon or in presence of a child under 16;

    • Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18;

    • Burglary of a dwelling;

    • Stalking and aggravated stalking;

    • Act of domestic violence as defined in Section 741.28, Florida Statutes (including assault, aggravated assault, domestic battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member);

    • Home invasion robbery;

    • Act of terrorism as defined in s. 775.30;

    • Manufacturing any substances in violation of Chapter 893, Florida Statutes; and

    • Attempting or conspiring to commit any such crime.


Qualify to have your charges sealed or expunged? Contact us Today.

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