Sealing of Adult Criminal Records in Florida
Arrests that resulted in a plea of guilty or no contest, or where you were found guilty after trial but with adjudication withheld, can be sealed, unless the offense is for a crime that cannot be expunged or sealed. The specific crimes that are prohibited from being sealed are the same as those listed for expunction (see "Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Florida ").
Eligibility: The criteria for record sealing in Florida are the same as those listed for expunction of a criminal record:
(a) The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) approves the records for sealing
(b) The person has never been adjudicated (convicted) guilty by a court, for any crime, at any time, anywhere
(c) The person has never had a record previously sealed or expunged, for any crime, at any time, anywhere
(d) The person does not currently have a petition to seal or expunge pending with another court, and
(e) The person has completed his sentence (where applicable) for the offense he wishes to be sealed.
If these criteria are met, the court then has full discretion to order your criminal record and other records that are directly related to your arrest to be sealed and stored away from public access.
Effect: Sealed records are confidential and inaccessible by the public. You can lawfully deny the existence of a sealed arrest or record. They do not appear if a criminal background check is conducted. After 10 years of being sealed, you can ask the court for an expunction.
However, your sealed record can be read by certain agencies if you are applying for a job, admission or license with
- a criminal justice agency (law enforcement)
- the Florida Bar
- the Department of Children and Families, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Education,
- a private or public school, or
- a Florida seaport
Additionally, if you are a defendant in a new criminal case or purchasing a firearm or applying for a subsequent sealing or another unrelated criminal offense, you must reveal the sealed record.
For more articles on Florida expunctions, click on the following: