Sealing a Crime in Florida
The subject of Sealing or Expunging a crime in Florida is very complicated. It depends on each individual’s history of criminal charges in Florida and even other states.
The easiest thing to do is to call us NOW for a free evaluation. We provide services, statewide, for either a Sealing or Expungement, depending on which you may be entitled to, and we can determine together what is the best choice for your future. Call us at any of the above numbers, and we will answer immediately. It takes less than five minute to determine whether you are eligible for either, and for you to decide which is your best course of action.
Each state handles the clearing or removing of criminal histories differently. In certain states, neither sealing or expunging a crime is an available option.
Other states allow you to seal or expunge a crime, depending on the state’s nomenclature, even if you have convictions.
Depending on how your cases were resolved, and if you are eligible, Florida allows you to Expunge (or destroy a file) or Seal a crime, that is to hide it from public view, discovery or knowledge under the auspices of the Clerk’s Office. In Florida, it is important to know that you can only seal or expunge one crime in your lifetime. A sealing or an expungement, not one of each, so the decision about which one is an important one, with lifetime consequences.
With a sealing or expungement, your criminal file is actually erased from the clerk’s records and remains hidden from discovery, as if it never existed or occurred. No company, person, agency or news publisher can see that the case ever occurred without special Court permission, which is rarely if ever granted. On the other hand, an expunged case is destroyed, not hidden. And once a crime is either sealed or expunged, you can therefore, under most circumstances, legally DENY that it ever occurred, even the arrest. Its as if a ‘legal fiction’ is created and it is removed from the history of the world.
Sealing in Florida is allowed for cases that are resolved as Adjudication Withheld’ Or with a Withhold of Adjudication. It makes no difference if you pled guilty, what matters is the Judge’s finding, or ‘Disposition’. The judge could even have found you Guilty, but ‘Withheld Adjudication’, meaning he did not adjudicate you guilty, so No Conviction.
If you have charges in a case that were dropped or nol-prossed, along with others that were resolved as a ‘withhold of adjudication’, you are permitted to Seal that entire case’s charges, even if there are under different case numbers, as long as they arose from the same ‘core operative facts’, i.e., not a different arrest for different crimes.
Unlike Expungements, which are for crimes that are dropped or ‘Nol-Prossed’ by the prosecutor’s office, or dismissed, including after a Pre-Trial Diversion program, there are 31 categories of serious crimes that CANNOT be sealed (see the Florida Statute regarding Sealing (Here)) EVEN IF they were resolved as Adjudication Withheld and you might otherwise be eligible. Those 31 crimes can be expunged, however, if they were dismissed, dropped or nol prossed.
In Florida, whether you’re entitled to a Crime being Sealed or being “expunged, you cannot be entitled to such if:
You have sealed or expunged a charge before in Florida; or
If you have a conviction of any ‘crime’ in Florida or any other state.
You can call us NOW for an evaluation of your rights and the options available to you.