Expungement vs. Sealing a Criminal Record
Having a criminal record can significantly limit your life in many ways. Even an arrest on your record, without a conviction, can hurt your chances for employment, loans, renting or buying a home, applying for school or scholarships, and more. Fortunately, there are ways to have your record removed from public access either through expungement or sealing. By destroying or restricting access to your record, you can restore your personal and professional reputation and rid yourself of the incident that has been haunting your life.
Expungement of a record is the procedure of physical destroying a record so that it can no longer be recalled for public access. It is available only in very limited circumstances to courts, criminal justice agencies, and certain government agencies if you are seeking employment with them. In the state of Florida, you can have your criminal record expunged if you have never plead guilty or been convicted of any criminal charge, including the one that you are applying to have expunged.
Also, you can not currently be on probation and can not have had any criminal record expunged or sealed previously. Expungement is essentially a one-time opportunity to destroy the record for an arrest or incident. Once you have had one record expunged or sealed, you may not do so again.
Sealing a record means that a record will not be physically destroyed, but it will become confidential and can only be accessed by the individual, his or her attorney, criminal justice agencies, and certain government agencies if applying for employment. The record will no longer be available for public access, and other than the exceptions above, you may deny the existence of the record in most cases, such as when applying for a job, school, loan, and more.
A record may be sealed if an individual has never entered a guilty plea or been convicted of a crime, including the charge or arrest that the individual wants sealed. Like expungement, the person also can not be on probation and can not have had a record expunged or sealed in the past. After 10 years of having a record sealed, some records become eligible for expungement.
Don’t let one mistake negatively affect your life even years later. To learn more about having a record expunged or sealed, please contact the experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of Eric N. Klein & Associates, P.A. today at 561-353-2800.