While many criminal cases can be brought to a desirable resolution, a favorable outcome does not remove the arrest from your record. An arrest in your permanent record can cause just as many – if not more – problems as the original charges. Expungement, or sealing, offers an alternative to an arrest haunting you for the rest of your life and causing stress and worry every time you agree to a background check or fill out an application.
Without an expungement or seal, when completing applications for jobs, apartments, loans, colleges, professional schools, and agencies, you must answer “Yes” when asked if you have ever been arrested. After your record is expunged or sealed, you can legally answer “No” on these applications. It is vital to have your case resolved in a manner that offers the option of expungement or sealing.
Requesting an expungement or seal is a complicated process that should only be attempted by an attorney experienced in this area. The many steps involved in an expungement/sealing process involve the State Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the judge assigned to your case. You can only expunge or seal an arrest once in a lifetime, so hiring an experienced attorney is very important. An expungement of your record will have the effect of “erasing” the record, as if nothing ever happened, giving you a fresh start to move on with your life without impediments and fear. A seal of your record has the effect of hiding your record, but the record remains available in certain circumstances.