Florida provides opportunities for you to have your criminal record sealed, under certain circumstances. Sealing a criminal record means that the public does not have access to your criminal past. If a prospective employer, landlord, or colleague runs a background check on you, your criminal record will not appear if it has been successfully sealed in the state of Florida. However, there are exceptions to this such as if you are applying for a job with a criminal justice agency, admission to the Florida Bar or:
- seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, 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 attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is the subject to a criminal history background check under state or federal law.
In other words, a sealed criminal record will remain inaccessible to all people and agencies other than the governmental agencies listed above that deal with at-risk populations such as minors and the elderly. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement provides a list of crimes which can’t be sealed. Under Florida law any conviction for a criminal offense bars you from ever sealing or expunging a criminal record (except if you were the victim of human trafficking).
The Good News
Florida allows you to receive one sealing in your lifetime if you were found guilty but not convicted of a crime. If you were found guilty of a crime but the adjudication was withheld you may be eligible for sealing the criminal record. You can receive a withhold of adjudication regardless of whether you pled guilty or no contest/nolo contendre to a charge. The judge in your case either adjudicated you guilty or withheld adjudication.
If this sounds confusing, it can be. That’s why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you through this process. I can help you get started on sealing your criminal records immediately. Feel free to schedule a free consultation for more information. Although our firm is located in the Clearwater, Florida area, we may be able to seal or expunge your record regardless of where you reside in the State of Florida.