Being arrested can be a scary and very embarrassing ordeal.  After an arrest, a person’s criminal record is public information and can be viewed on request by pretty much anyone.  That means potential employers, friends or your employer can look into why you were arrested and what happened. Most often, people want their criminal records sealed for purposes of finding or keeping employment.  Sometimes, others are solely focused on avoiding the embarrassment of being in jail is a matter of public record.

Florida Statute

Florida law, under Florida Statute 943.059, allows a court to seal criminal records.  As long as the person attempting to seal a criminal record has never actually been convicted of a crime, the process is normally simple and straightforward.  The law allows for the sealing of one’s criminal offense, but if one incident resulted in multiple offenses, then they all can be eligible for sealing.  Separate, unrelated offenses cannot all be sealed. Only one can be chosen. In some instances, the State of Florida, through the State Attorney’s Office, may object to a criminal record being sealed.  However, the vast majority of requests go unopposed by the State. There are some offenses that cannot be sealed, even if there are no convictions on a person’s record. For example, many sexually motivated offenses cannot be sealed.

Having your record sealed is an inexpensive process that takes between three and six months, sometimes less.  You must first receive a certificate of eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The length of time it takes depends on whether the FDLE is backlogged in their processing of certificates of eligibility.  Once the certificate is approved, the proper paperwork is filed with the court requesting that a judge grant the requested record seal.

If you need help in getting a criminal record sealed contact the law offices of Richard Della Fera