Don Waggoner Law

Orlando and Kissimmee Criminal Defense Lawyer and DUI Attorney

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SEALING AND EXPUNGEMENT

SEALING and EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS

Once a criminal case is over, many people want to seal or expunge the record from open view by the public.  Orlando and Kissimmee Criminal Defense lawyer Don Waggoner has assisted many people with this process.  If you have a criminal record that you want sealed or expunged, and you have not been adjudicated guilty of a crime before, call attorney Don Waggoner for assistance with this matter.


Benefits of an Expungement

If you currently have an arrest record, there are many reasons why you should look into expungment or sealing. The benefits of expungement and sealing are very beneficial. After your record is sealed or expunged, you will:


Be able to obtain employment, housing, and educational benefits.

People who have committed a criminal offense want to move forward with their lives. This is very difficult to do when you have a negative mark on your criminal record. Your criminal record is accessible to the public. This means that future landlords, educational institutions, and employers can access your criminal history. If you have an arrest on your criminal record, you can be denied employment or housing, and educational benefits


Be able to obtain state licenses.

You may need to obtain a state license for professional purposes. Before the State of Florida will issue a license, a background check will be conducted. If you have an arrest record, your request for a state license can be denied.


Be able to obtain bank and student loans.

When you have a criminal history, banks and the federal government can deny you student and bank loans.


Leave the distant past behind.

Often times, juveniles partake in reckless actions during their youth. A juvenile can commit a “delinquent” offense without realizing the impact it will have on his/her future. Even though the offense was committed when the person was below the legal age, it may remain on his/her criminal record. As an adult, the person may be denied opportunities based upon his/her arrest record. This is why many adults decide to expunge or seal their juvenile criminal record.


Move forward with your life.

After a person has expunged or sealed his/her arrest record, he/she often feels relieved. People who have their records expunged can move forward with their lives without worrying about suffering consequences from past mistakes.


Sealing and Expunging a Record

The sealing and expunging of criminal records is covered generally under F. S. Chapter 943The sealing and expunging of juvenile records is different than that of adult records.  Generally, if an offender plead or was found guilty of a qualifying criminal offense, and adjudication of guilt was withheld, the offender will have to seal the record for a period of time before the record can be expunged.  If the offender completed a diversion program, and the charges were subsequently dismissed, or “nolle prosequi,” the offender is generally eligible for an expunction of that record, depending on any prior criminal history and the type of crime.
There is no time limit on applying for sealing or expungement of a record, except in some juvenile cases.  An offender may only seal or expunge one adult criminal event in a lifetime.  All crimes arising out of the same episode or event may be sealed or expunged.
In order to seal or expunge a record, the applicant must first submit a notarized application and a certified copy of the case disposition to the State’s Attorney in the jurisdiction for the case, so that the State’s Attorney may verify the record, the disposition of the case, and recommend denial of the application or approval.  The applicant must then secure a set of fingerprints from a local law enforcement agency.  The applicant must send the fingerprints, the certified disposition, the application, and a $75.00 money order to FDLE for a background check.  Once the approval of FDLE is returned, the applicant must file a motion to seal or expunge with the court, with a copy to the State’s Attorney.  The court will set a hearing date to make the decision about the motion.  If the motion is granted, the Clerk of Court is then required to send certified copies to the appropriate agencies.  This service may require payment of a fee to the Clerk.

Juvenile Records

Information concerning the sealing and expunging of juvenile records may be found here: F.S. 943.0515; F.S. 943.0581; F.S. 943.0582.
Generally, the criminal record of a juvenile is supposed to be expunged 5 years after the date the minor reaches age 19.  However, if the juvenile has been designated a serious or habitual juvenile offender, or committed to juvenile correctional facility or juvenile prison under Chapter 985, the record will not be expunged until 5 years after the juvenile reaches his 21st birthday.
If a juvenile is adjudicated as an adult for a forcible felony, his/her prior record will not be expunged and will be merged with the juveniles adult record.  If a person over 18 is charged with or convicted of a forcible felony, and his/her juvenile record has not yet been destroyed, the juvenile record will not be expunged or destroyed, will be merged with the offenders adult record, and will be retained as a part of the person’s adult record.
A juvenile who completes a pre-arrest, post-arrest, or teen court diversion program for any non-violent misdemeanor (non-domestic violence batteries and assaults are considered non-violent misdemeanors) may apply to have the record expunged.  The application for expungement must be done within 6 months of completion of the diversionary program.  A person whose record is expunged for this reason may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest and the charge covered by the expunged record.

A juvenile who expunges his/her record under this section, F.S. 943.0582, may petition for sealing or expungement of a later criminal history as provided for in F.S. 943.0585.


Adult Records

The sealing and expunging of adult criminal histories is generally covered under F.S. 943.0585 and F.S. 943.059.

Expungement

Expungement of a criminal record is a process that removes a criminal record from the view and eyes of the public and law enforcement agencies with some exceptions.  A person’s record is essentially “erased” from the system.  In order to qualify for an expungement, a person must not have been convicted or adjudicated guilty or delinquent of any criminal offense prior to the one the person is trying to expunge, or, if adjudication of guilt was withheld, the record must have been sealed for at least 10 years..  A person can only expunge one criminal record in a lifetime.
A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be expunged, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, the offense as a delinquent act.  Below are the crimes in the statutes listed above:


Arson
Domestic Violence
Child Molestation
Aggravated Assault
Drug Trafficking
Prostitution
Aggravated Battery
Sexual Battery
Pandering
Aggravated Stalking
Homicide
Lewd Conduc
Child Abuse
Murder
Robbery
Child Sexual Abuse
Manslaughter
Carjacking
Child Pornography
Kidnapping
Terrorism
Elder Abuse
Illegal Pornography
Burglary

The petition and paperwork that must be submitted to FDLE may be found here:  FDLE: Seal or Expunge Application.
Orlando and Kissimmee Expungement Attorney Don Waggoner can assist you in filling out the paperwork and can submit your petition to expunge for you.
Here is what happens when your record is expunged:


Effect of Expungement

Any criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered expunged by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this section must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record; except that any criminal history record in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases. A criminal history record ordered expunged that is retained by the department is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and not available to any person or entity except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge.


(a) The person who is the subject of a criminal history record that is expunged under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:

1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section or s. 943.059;
4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly;
6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities; or
7. Is seeking authorization from a seaport listed in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12.
(b) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (a), a person who has been granted an expunction under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person’s failure to recite or acknowledge an expunged criminal history record.
(c) Information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record which is provided in accordance with paragraph (a) is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the department shall disclose the existence of a criminal history record ordered expunged to the entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 7. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes, and to criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes. It is unlawful for any employee of an entity set forth in subparagraph (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., subparagraph (a)5., subparagraph (a)6., or subparagraph (a)7. to disclose information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record of a person seeking employment, access authorization, or licensure with such entity or contractor, except to the person to whom the criminal history record relates or to persons having direct responsibility for employment, access authorization, or licensure decisions. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


Sealing

The rules and requirements for sealing a criminal record are the same as those for expunging a criminal record except that a person may seal any eligible record in cases where the adjudication of guilt was withheld.  The same offenses as for an expungement may not be sealed.

A record must be sealed for at least 10 years before the offender can ask that it be expunged.


Orlando and Kissimmee expungement and sealing Attorney Don Waggoner can help you in filling out your paperwork and filing you petition to seal the record.


Effect of Sealing a Record

A criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered sealed by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this section is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and is available only to the person who is the subject of the record, to the subject’s attorney, to criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes, which include conducting a criminal history background check for approval of firearms purchases or transfers as authorized by state or federal law, to judges in the state courts system for the purpose of assisting them in their case-related decisionmaking responsibilities, as set forth in s. 943.053(5), or to those entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes.


(a) The subject of a criminal history record sealed under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed record, except when the subject of the record:
1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section or s. 943.0585;
4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly;
6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;
7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law; or
8. Is seeking authorization from a Florida seaport identified in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12.
(b) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (a), a person who has been granted a sealing under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person’s failure to recite or acknowledge a sealed criminal history record.
(c) Information relating to the existence of a sealed criminal record provided in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the department shall disclose the sealed criminal history record to the entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes. It is unlawful for any employee of an entity set forth in subparagraph (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., subparagraph (a)5., subparagraph (a)6., or subparagraph (a)8. to disclose information relating to the existence of a sealed criminal history record of a person seeking employment, access authorization, or licensure with such entity or contractor, except to the person to whom the criminal history record relates or to persons having direct responsibility for employment, access authorization, or licensure decisions. Any person who violates the provisions of this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

Mugshots and Internet History

If a person is arrested, taken to jail and a mugshot is taken, the person may later find this mugshot and details of the arrest on the internet.  This information can be, and usually is, looked at by friends, employers, apartment managers, schools, government agencies and many, many more people.  What can you do about this?
If the charges are dropped, or your record is sealed or expunged, you may be able to get the mugshot and record pulled from the private websites.  Some websites will do so on request and with a copy of the disposition of the record.  Some will require an attorney to make the request.  Some, however, will want to charge you a fee before removing the picture and information.  If you retain Expungement and Sealing attorney Don Waggoner to get you your record sealed or expunged, he will submit requests to these sites as part of his obligation to you.  Remember, however, that under current law, private websites are not required to remove this information.