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Seal and Expunge

Now days background and security checks are performed before being offered employment, acceptance into college programs, bank loans and housing leases. Don’t allow past mistakes ruin your future. Contact the Deerfield Beach office of Arica L. Braaten, P.A. at (954) 380-6000.

If you are arrested and the charges are later dropped against you or never filed, there will still be a record of your arrest. The arrest record, even if charges were never filed against you, will continue to show up on a background check. You need that arrest record to be expunged.

In Florida, you may be eligible for a sealing or expungement if the charges were dismissed, not filed on, or if a plea was entered and a withheld of adjudicated was granted.

The sealing or expungement process can take anywhere from three (3) to nine (9) months to complete. Because there are government agencies involved (State Attorney, FDLE and Court) it’s impossible to give a definite timeline. It’s better to start sooner rather than later. Contact the Broward County office of Arica L. Braaten, P.A. at (954) 380-6000 to being sealing or expunging your record today.

Sealing

When thinking about a sealing a record, image a piece of paper folded up and secured with a piece of tape. The paper remains in intact, but it’s not open for everyone to look at. If your records are sealed, the public (and most agencies) aren’t going to be able to access your sealed record. However, some agencies will still be able to see your record for example:

  • If you are a candidate for admission to the Florida bar.
  • If you are a defendant in a later criminal prosecution.
  • If you are a candidate for employment at a criminal justice agency.
  • If you are subject to a background check with buying a firearm.

If your records are expunged, these select agencies will be notified that there is an expungement, but the details will not be available.

Expungement

Use it wisely! You are only allowed one expungement in your life. If your records are expunged you may legally deny or fail to acknowledge a prior arrest. Remember the analogy for sealing your record and the piece of tape? An expungement is like taking that record and ripping it up. A few select agencies will be aware that a record was expunged, but the details will not be available.

You may qualify for an expungement if, as an adult, you were not adjudicated as guilty (charges were dropped, dismissed or found not guilty) and this is your first sealing or expungement with a few exceptions. Some charges will make you ineligible for expungement for instance: domestic violence, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, drug trafficking, child abuse or abuse of an elderly person (this is only a partial list).

There are three (3) different types of criminal records expunctions:

Administrative Expungements: In Florida a person may seek administrative expungements of criminal records if they were “incorrectly” arrested or arrested due to “mistaken identity” or identity theft. Administrative expungements are different because there is no limit to the number of times someone can seek an administrative expungement and it doesn’t count against any prior or future expungement or sealing petitions.

Adult Record Expungement: This is the most common type of expungement. It is a one time deal and only available in certain circumstances.

Juvenile Expungements/Sealing: Juvenile Expungements or Sealing of criminal records is typically not counted against your adult record expungement. Not all juvenile offenses are eligible for expungement or sealing. Additionally, a juvenile must complete a diversion program in order to qualify for his/her record being sealed or expunged and petition for an expungement within six (6) months after program completion.