Take Steps Toward Sealing and Expungement of Criminal Records

An arrest or a criminal conviction of a defendant has far-reaching consequences. Sealing and expungement in Florida is the legal process of limiting or preventing public access and the disclosure of criminal history records. It is a crucial step to protect the reputation and privacy of an accused or an offender. Criminal records affect background checks for future employers, housing applications, obtaining credit, and educational opportunities. If you are arrested but not convicted of a crime, you may qualify for a sealing or expungement. If you are convicted of a crime, you may still be eligible under certain circumstances.

How Does Expungement Differ From the Sealing of Records?

Expungement is essentially the destruction of criminal records by the criminal justice department, except for one confidential copy maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That copy is confidential and can only be viewed under court order. (See Florida Statute 943.045(16)) When the court seals a criminal history record is, it is not destroyed. The public is unable to view it. However, most government agencies will continue to access the information, such as the courts and the criminal justice system. (See Florida Statute 943.045(19))

Benefits of Legal Counsel

Due to the complex nature of the sealing and expungement process, it is vital to have the counsel of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Alison M. Lopes, we can maximize the chances of getting a favorable ruling. Attorney Alison Lopes is a Florida Bar Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer. She has successfully protected her client’s rights for more than a decade.

Eligibility Requirements for Sealing and Expunging of Records

There is an extensive list of crimes not eligible for sealing or expungement under Florida law. However, there is a range of violations, misdemeanors, and felonies that do qualify. A defendant’s record may be sealed for eligible crimes if they plead guilty or no contest, receive a withhold of adjudication, and have never been adjudicated guilty of another crime.
The criminal justice system may grant expungement if the charges against the defendant are dismissed or the defendant is acquitted of charges by a judge or jury. In addition, the defendant may not have been adjudicated guilty of another crime. Without any petition, Florida automatically destroys juvenile records at 24 or 26 years of age, depending on a juvenile’s criminal history. However, it is possible to petition the court to have a juvenile record sealed or expunged earlier if they have successfully completed a diversion program.

Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Your Options

Having an arrest or a criminal conviction sealed or expunged can help you move forward with your life. At the Law Office of Alison M. Lopes, we believe in second chances for those that have faced criminal charges. Let us guide you through the legal process for the best chance of a successful filing.

Contact the Law Office of Alison M. Lopes at our Orlando, Florida office. For questions, concerns, or to schedule a consultation, call our dedicated legal team at 407-442-2724.