Which Charges Cannot be Sealed in Florida?
Sealing and expunging arrests and criminal convictions helps many offenders move on with their lives after they have paid their debts to society. Those who have been arrested or convicted of certain offenses may be eligible to seal or expunge their criminal records, depending on the facts of the case. In Florida, offenders have limited opportunities to seal or expunge an arrest or conviction, so it’s important to understand the specifics of these processes, which many people have trouble differentiating.
Sealing vs. Expunging Criminal Records in Orlando
The terms “sealing” and “expunging” originated before computers were widely used to maintain the state’s public records database. In the past, sealed records were physically wrapped up and preserved; while expunged records were physically destroyed.
Florida remains one of few states that have distinct laws for sealing and expunging criminal records. Today, there is little difference between the final results of these two complex processes. Records that are sealed or expunged may not be viewed by public entities like private investigators, employers, or creditors. The courts may still consider sealed convictions as prior offenses when issuing a sentence for a new offense.
Whether you seek to have your record sealed or expunged in Orlando, you cannot do either if you have a prior conviction or if you have already sealed or expunged a different criminal record. Only first-time offenders may be eligible to wipe their records clean.
Charges Ineligible for Record Sealing
Certain criminal charges cannot be sealed, even if you had the adjudication of guilt withheld. Having an adjudication of guilt withheld refers to when the judge orders probation but does not formally convict the defendant. It is a way for the State to provide the defendant a second chance to avoid the stigma of a conviction.
Several ineligible offenses prevent record sealing. If your charges were dropped, this list of charges from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not apply to you; it only affects charges of which you plead to, not charges for which you were arrested.
Some of these charges may include:
- Sexual misconduct with developmentally or mentally disabled persons
- Luring or enticing a child
- Sexual battery
- Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of anyone under 16
- Trafficking in controlled substances
- Procuring a minor for prostitution
- Illegal use of explosives
- Child abuse/ aggravated child abuse
- Aggravated assault/battery
- Burglary of a dwelling
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
- Home invasion robbery
And several other felony and federal offenses. The list also includes attempts to commit any of the above crimes.
Working with an Attorney to Seal or Expunge Your Record
There are several advantages to having your criminal past sealed or expunged. Perhaps the biggest reason to file a record sealing or expungement is to avoid having your future derailed by a mistake you made in your past. By having your record sealed or expunged, you could move on from checking off “the box” on job, education, or housing applications. If you believe that you may be eligible, contact The Umansky Law Firm. Our criminal lawyers in Orlando dedicate a significant portion of our practice to helping clients through record sealing and expungement. Call our office or contact us for a free consultation.