Can I Have My Criminal Record Sealed Or Expunged?
A criminal conviction will have an impact on you for years to come. You may find it difficult to obtain employment, housing, and even some academic opportunities. It is no wonder then, that so many people who have been convicted want to get their record sealed or expunged. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. Below, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer explains more.
Expungement vs. Sealing a Record
Expunging a record and getting one sealed are two very different legal actions. Sealing a record only removes it from the public records while expungement essentially destroys the record. This is an important difference between when a record is only sealed, it can still be accessed by a court order. Expungement on the other hand, expunges the record and so, no one can see it, even if there is a court order.
Benefits of Expunging or Sealing a Record
There are many benefits that come with having a record sealed or expunged. The biggest of these include:
- The ability to honestly claim that you have never been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense
- Background checks will not show a previous criminal history
- Future employers will not be able to see anything about the offense
- Academic institutions, such as colleges, will not be able to see anything about the crime
- You can protect your reputation
- You will have some peace of mind and closure
Qualifying for Expungement or Record Sealing
Expungement and sealing your records depends on whether you were convicted of the offense. If law enforcement did lay charges but you were not convicted of the offense, you are eligible to seal the record if you have never had a record expunged or sealed before. This pertains to other states, as well as Florida. You also cannot have a current petition to expunge or seal your records. Still, there are some crimes, such as domestic battery, that are ineligible for expungement and sealing, even if you were not convicted.
When is Disclosure Required?
Although most employers will not be able to see anything about the crime, you are required to disclose your criminal history when applying for certain positions. These include:
- Positions that require a state-issued professional license
- Positions in government or law enforcement
- School-related jobs
- Positions in a public office
- Applying for a concealed carry permit or purchasing a firearm
Disclosing a criminal history can have problems of its own, but there are other issues that come with disclosure, too. One of these is that you may have to supply records about the crime. It is for this reason it is critical that you keep all documentation you receive pertaining to the expungement and record sealing in case you need it in the future.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando Can Help with Your Case
At O’Mara Law Group, our Orlando criminal lawyer can help you through the complex expungement or record sealing process. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.