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Navigating a denial of a record sealing or expungement in Florida

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Having a criminal history is daunting. It can follow around a person for the rest of their life, making it challenging in some cases to get certain jobs or obtain housing. Thus, some individuals in Florida may take measures to seal or expunge his or her criminal record. Depending on the situation and whether an individual meets the eligibility requirements, it is possible to have one’s record sealed or expunged by the court.

Sealed record versus expunged

When going through the process to wither seal or expunge a criminal record, it is important to understand the difference between the two and the process one needs to go through in order to accomplish this. To begin, whether one has their criminal history record sealed or expunged, the public will not have access to it. When a record is sealed, certain government and related entities will have access to the record information in its entirety.

In contrast, when a record is expunged, most of the government entities that would have access to a sealed record will only be informed that the record has been expunged. This means the details of the record will not be available; however, they would be put on notice that the individual has an expunged record. Note, this is only true for certain government and related entities. Moreover, these entities could gain access to an expunged record through a court order.

Appealing a denial for expungement

There are four common reasons for a denial for a record to be sealed or expunged. First, the criminal history record of the individual reflects that he or she has been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense. Second, the record reflects that the individual has been adjudicated delinquent for committing one or more criminal acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity. Next, one’s criminal history reflect that he or she has received prior sealing or expungement. Finally, the record contains certain specified offenses that disqualify them for sealing or expungement.

If an individual believes that their denial for record sealing or expungement was made in error, it is possible to have the denial reviewed. This could be due to errors in the record or incomplete information. Additionally, one could seek a review if there were no errors in their record but asserts that the law was incorrectly applied in the matter. In these situations, it is possible to appeal the denial, asking the court to hear one’s petition to seal or expunge their record.

Navigating the criminal law system can be challenging, especially when one is not fully aware of their rights and options. Thus, it is important for one to consider their defense options. Whether it is taking steps to generate a strong criminal defense against criminal allegations or taking steps to get a past record sealed or expunged, it is vital that one understands their rights and what options they have to protect them.