Seal and Expunge
In Florida, Statute § 943.053 makes adult criminal history records public, unless they have been sealed or expunged. Having an old charge, or even a recent charge, on your criminal record can create severe limits on your ability to get a job, volunteer, register for advanced education programs, and much more. Marla J. Ferguson Law, P.A. has years of experience sealing and expunging criminal records in Florida. If you are ready to move on with your life and leave the past in the past, call Marla J. Ferguson Law today to discuss sealing or expunging your record today!
What does it mean to have your record sealed?
Under § 943.045, Florida Statutes, the term “seal” is defined as the court-ordered maintenance of a record where it is secure and inaccessible to any person not having a legal right of access to the information contained within it. 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. The record will no longer be accessible by public records searches, employment background checks, or bank background checks when applying for a loan. Specifically, see, Fla. Stat. §943.059(4)(a) the sealed record will, be accessible when the subject of the record:
1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section, s. 943.0583, or s. 943.0585;
4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
5. 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;
6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, a district school board, a university laboratory school, a charter school, a private or parochial school, or a local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;
7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law;
8. Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services;
9. Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian pursuant to s. 744.3125; or
10. Is seeking to be licensed by the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm.
What does it mean to have your record expunged?
Under § 943.045(16), Florida Statutes, “Expunction of a criminal history record” means the 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.