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The sealing process in Florida

Sealing a Florida criminal record means that any law enforcement or judicial record of a single arrest/incident is sealed so it can only be accessed in very limited instances (see II below). However, the individual may still have to reveal the existence of that sealed charge (or charges) in certain circumstances (see II below). Also, a sealed record may be eligible for expungement after 10 years.

I. Sealing a Florida criminal record:

Sealing a Florida criminal record means that any law enforcement or judicial record of a single arrest/incident is sealed so it can only be accessed in very limited instances (see II below).  However, the individual may still have to reveal the existence of that sealed charge (or charges) in certain circumstances (see II below).  Also, a sealed record may be eligible for expungement after 10 years.

Under Florida law, an individual who has a criminal arrest record may qualify to have that record sealed if they meet the following qualifications:

  1. They have never been convicted of or plead guilty to any criminal charge, either while an adult or minor.
  2. They have not been convicted or entered a guilty plea to the particular arrest/charge that they want sealed.  A plea that results in a withhold of adjudication is not disqualifying, so long as it is not one of the crimes listed below.
  3. They are not on probation.
  4. They have never had a criminal record sealed or expunged in any jurisdiction.

II. When a sealed record must be divulged:

Despite being hidden from the public, meaning it will not be shown on any background checks, the FDLE will reveal the existence of a sealed record to the following parties if an individual is applying to them for employment or a professional license:

  1. A law enforcement agency
  2. The Department of Children and Families
  3. The Department of Juvenile Justice
  4. A contractor or licensee dealing with children
  5. The Department of Education
  6. Any public school
  7. Any private school
  8. The Florida Bar

Additionally, an individual who has had a criminal record sealed may deny the existence of that record, except in the following circumstances:

They are seeking employment from any of the following entities;

  1. A law enforcement agency
  2. The Department of Children and Family
  3. The Department of Juvenile Justice
  4. The Department of Education
  5. Any public school
  6. Any private school
  7. A contractor or licensee dealing with children

Or when;

  1. Applying to the Florida Bar
  2. They are being prosecuted for a subsequent crime;
  3. They are attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history background check under state or federal law

  4. Is seeking authorization from a Florida seaport identified in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12 or s. 311.125.

III. The effect of a withhold of adjudication:

If an individual receives a withhold of adjudication on any of the following charges, they will not be able to have those charges sealed.  If the following charges were dropped, dismissed, or they were found not guilty, the arrest/charges may still be expunged.

 

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