ERIC J DIRGA, PA

Domestic Violence Arrests Need to Be Expunged

expunge domestic violence arrests

Domestic Violence arrests are up. They have been rising for about 20 years. Not because man has decided to batter his wife more – because the legal definition has been expanded. Two siblings that get in a fight (say age 8 and 10) are now committing domestic violence. What use to be Spouse Abuse is now generically called domestic violence and that can include siblings, parent and child, ex-lovers, and even roommates. But that is not the worst of it. Get arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and you immediately lose your Second Amendment right to bear arms. Poof – like that.

Most Domestic Violence Arrests Result in Dropped Charges

There is good news. Probably over (way over) 75% of domestic violence arrests result in the State Attorney dropping the charges. Sounds great but the problem with arrests is that even if the charges are dropped they stay on your background. I call this the Domestic Violence Trap Door. This means when you apply for a job, apartment, or want to volunteer, the odds are that this arrest will show up.

Dropped Charges Remain on Your Record – The Domestic Violence Trap Door

You must remember that your record is one of arrests not convictions. This means that, even if the case is dropped or you are acquitted after a trial, you still have a record of the arrest. These records are public – anyone can looked them up on the Clerk of Court’s website.

Background Checks Show Dropped Charges

Today, just about everything we want to do requires a background check. We don’t want people to see charges that were dropped or dismissed. We shouldn’t be punished for things we have never be found guilty of – should we?

Expunge Your Domestic Violence Arrest

Florida law allows for anyone who has been arrested but had the charges dropped, dismissed, being acquitted after a trial, or not even filed on to have that arrest expunged (so long as that person has never been convicted of a criminal offense).

An expunged or sealed record removes the arrest from all government agencies including the Clerk of Court, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorneys Office, and the Sheriff and arresting agency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also makes such information confidential from the public.

Find out more information on my website about expungement (and sealings), how to qualify, how much it costs, and other questions and answers. Don’t let a domestic violence charge punish you for life. Have it expunged today.


Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.

If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located online in Orlando, FL. He provides representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.

Arrested? Adjudication Withheld

Overcoming An Arrest and Moving On

Every day people are arrested. For some it is a way of life, for others it is a horrible one-time experience. Those that cannot learn from these experiences, well, I have no advice for you …maybe “dream small.” But the majority of you that feel like your world is crashing down because of this first time mistake – relax, take a deep breath, and have hope. You can get past this and move on with your life. Just remember the words “adjudication withheld.”

Getting Back On Your Feet

The first thing you must do is stop all the spinning going on in your head. Contacting a lawyer may help and you should seek legal advice but you should also have a grasp of what is going on. You don’t want to go through this in a fog.

The Process

The first thing you need to understand is the procedure. You were arrested, you may have had your initial or first appearance, but that is just the beginning. The arraignment is the next hearing. This is the first court date you have to go to unless you hire a lawyer to represent you for your case (and you should hire a lawyer if you can). The only things that happen at an arraignment are:

  • The Court tells you what the State Attorney’s Office has charged you with.
  • The Court will see if you qualify for the Public Defender to represent you.
  • The Court asks you how you want to plea.
    • Guilty
    • No Contest (think of it as the same as Guilty)
    • Not Guilty
  • The prosecutor (or judge) may make a offer to settle the case.

If you enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest the court will most probably resolve the case right then and there. Unless the prosecutor or the judge told you in advance what the sanctions would be, you should not blindly accept responsibility for whatever it is you have been charged with. There is no penalty for entering a plea of not guilty and changing your mind later. IMPORTANT: Read next paragraph.

Do Not Be Adjudicated Guilty – Magic Words are “Adjudication Withheld”

If you are going to enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest, remember if the offer includes an “Adjudication of Guilt” you will be convicted and this will never come off your public arrest record.

You want the judge to “withhold” the adjudication of guilt. That keeps you from being convicted and may allow you to seal your public arrest record in the future.

The magic word is “withhold” or any form of it. Remember that – think “Adjudication Withheld.”

After You Enter a Not Guilty Plea

After your Not Guilty plea has been entered, your case will be set for a another hearing date. If you have hired an attorney he or she will probably waive your appearance to this hearing. If you don’t have a lawyer or you have the public defender, you must go to this hearing.

At this point the Court only wants to know:

  • Will you plead guilty or No Contest?
  • Do you need a continuance?
  • Do you want to go to trial?

There may be other things such as requesting time for motions to be heard but that is usually entailed with a continuance.

IMPORTANT: If you have a lawyer or the public defender, they will probably convey to you an offer and explain the pros and cons with it. Many first offense offers are pretty standard. Listen carefully to what the offer is. Remember – you need to have the adjudication of guilt “withheld” by the court. Otherwise the offer is a life sentence (the arrest will be seen by the public for the rest of your life*).

The Resolution of the Case – Adjudication Withheld

How you decide to resolve your case is up to you. No one can force you into entering a plea against your will. However, it is quite usual for a first offender to obtain a withhold of adjudication – so ask for it. “Your Honor, can I have adjudication withheld.” Even if the offer from the prosecutor is to adjudicate you guilty – ask the judge for adjudication withheld.

Pretrial Diversion

Many first offenders are offered “diversion.” These are programs set up by the State Attorneys Office. The basic concept is you do the sanctions (fines, classes, community service) you would have done if you entered a plea of “guilty” but, once completed, the charges are dismissed. This is a win and if offered you should accept it and complete it. If you do this, you can expunge the arrest.

Once the Case is Closed

Once the case is closed and you have completed any sanctions required by the court and paid all fees – you have one more thing to do. Because all arrests and everything that flows from an arrest is a public record – you need to make that record a non-public record.

How to Make Your Case Non-Public

If you entered a plea of no contest or guilty and had the adjudication of guilt withheld, you can now seal the record. If your case was dismissed because you had a great attorney or completed pretrial diversion, you can now expunge the record. Both accomplish the same goal.

Once your case is no longer a public record you can move on with your life and leave this bad moment in the past.


Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.

If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located online in Orlando, FL. He provides representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.

*That is the current law. If it changes, this may change.

Can You Teach With A Record

teaching in florida with a criminal record

Many people who contact me about an expungement are concerned about their ability to be a teacher in the public school system of Florida. In this post I try to explain what the Florida law states regarding the employment of teachers as it relates to past criminal records. You may also want to read my post on obtaining public employment with a criminal record.

Can You Teach With A Criminal Record

Florida has strict guidelines for those who want to teach. Part of being a teacher in Florida will require you to have periodic background checks. Whether a past or future arrest will affect your career depends on the nature of the charge and the outcome of your case.

Prerequisites to Teach

The State Board of Education requires that, to be eligible for employment, the following positions hold a Certificate:

  • School Supervisor
  • School Principal
  • Teacher
  • Library Media Specialist
  • School Counselor
  • Athletic Coach
  • Other position in which the employee serves in an instructional capacity.

There may be differences in the educational background needed for each of those positions (see, section 1012.55, Florida Statutes) and no one seeking a certificate can have a conviction for certain specified crimes. See, section 1012.315, Florida Statutes.

Once You Have a Teaching Certificate

Even if you have a teaching certificate, there are qualifications that are required to be employed. These can be found under section 1012.32, Florida Statutes (Qualifications of personnel). These include:

  • Be of good moral character
  • Be 18 years of age
  • Cannot be ineligible under s. 1012.315, Fla. Stat.
  • Hold a Certificate
  • Pass a Level 2 background screening (repeated every 5-years)
  • Cannot have been convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude”

Note that some of these requirements can be interpreted broadly.

What Convictions Can Prohibit a Certificate

The list of crimes that can prohibit a person from receiving any teaching certification is listed in section 1012.315, Florida Statutes.

Good Moral Character; Moral Turpitude

As noted above, some qualifications can be broadly interpreted. What is considered “good moral character” may be subject to local rules and appellate decisions. Moral turpitude typically includes a finding that actions taken by a person involved baseness, vileness, or depravity. An example of a crime of moral turpitude is prostitution. Note that the crimes listed in section 1012.315 are mostly serious offenses. However, violating “good moral character” or being involved in acts of “moral turpitude” need not be as serious an offense.

Can an Expungement or Sealing of a Criminal Record Help

The disqualifying criteria regarding crimes listed above all require that the person have been “convicted” of the offense. It is not clear whether convicted includes offenses where a person was found guilty but had the adjudication of guilt “withheld.” (See, differences between a conviction and a withhold). The qualification requiring that the person “be of good moral character” may envelope any finding of guilt.

A sealed record or an expunged record is no longer a public record. The sealing and expungement laws also allow you to deny that the arrest ever occurred (or that it was not you). There are exceptions to this “deniability” benefit. Even if a record has been sealed or expunged, the law requires that a person seeking employment as a teacher disclose the the arrest (even if dropped).

Expunging the Record

Expunging a criminal record requires that the charges have been dropped. Since a case where the charges have been dropped would not be a finding of guilt, it seems this would not affect employment or the obtaining of a certificate. However, it would seem advantageous to have the record expunged. Although disclosure to the school is required, it would stop parents and other individuals from seeing the arrest.

Sealing the Record

A person can seal a criminal record if found guilty of a criminal offense and the adjudication has been “withheld.” However, certain offenses, even if the adjudication has been withheld, are prohibited from sealing. Moreover, disclosure to the school is still required. If the offense is not one found in section 1012.315 and is eligible to be sealed it is always better to have it sealed even though it won’t prevent the school from knowing of it.

Whether you seal or expunge your record, always obtain certified copies of your court file. It is important to have these because once the record has been sealed or expunged, access to these records will end.

Should You Seek Being a Teacher With a Record

If you have been arrested, regardless of the outcome, and you are considering teaching as a career you should first talk with your school/college Guidance Counselor and check with the local School Board in your county. Contacting the licensing board is also a good idea. If you decide to seal or expunge the record, be sure to obtain certified copies of the important case documents. You may need to provide them to future potential employers.

If you are currently employed, you should know the law regarding the implications of an arrest. I cover this in An Arrest, A Background Check, Your Job.


For More Information Emailed to You

You can submit your information below and we will email you information about our record expungement and sealing services and representation. You can also go to our ⚖ Florida Expungement webpage for more details.

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Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.

If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located online in Orlando, FL. He provides representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.

Level 1 and 2 Background Check

level 1 and level 2 background screenings

The Level 1 and Level 2 background screenings (or background check) done in Florida are very confusing when it comes to having a record sealed or expunged. Is there a benefit?

The answer is yes. Expunging or sealing a record seems to benefit a potential employee when a level 1 or 2 background check is required. Below I explain this situation.

Florida Employment Background Screenings

Relating to Expungements and Sealings of Records

Many people are confused about the interactions between Chapter 435, dealing with background screenings (background check) for employment, and sections 943.0584 (restrictions on sealing records), 943.0585 (expungements) and 943.059 (sealings). The main question is what effect does an expunged or sealed record have on Level 1 or Level 2 state law required background screenings?  And do you have to disclose an expunged or sealed record when you have a level 1 or 2 background screening?

In order to find the answers to these questions we will need to first understand the laws that comprise these issues regarding the background check and Florida record expungements and sealings.

Chapter 435 – Employment Background Screenings

We need to understand how chapter 435 works. Section 435.01 points out that Chapter 435 is applicable for screening potential employees who are required to pass background screenings (background check) by law. The definitions (found under section 435.02) define “employer” as any person or entity “required by law to conduct screening of employees pursuant to this chapter.”

See also, An Arrest, A Background Check, and Your Job

See also, A Criminal Record and Your Job

Listed Agencies for the Background Check

The employers required to conduct employee background screenings pursuant to Chapter 435 are not specifically identified. However, section 435.02 does give us an idea on what type of employers would be required to do these background screenings. “Agency” is defined as any state, county, or municipal agency “that grants licenses . . . permitting the operation of an employer[.]” It further defines “specified agency” as the following:

  • Department of Health
  • Department of Children and Families
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Department of Education
  • Agency for Health Care Administration
  • Department of Elderly Affairs
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • Local Licensing Agencies approved pursuant to section 402.307
  • See, Chapter 402 – Health and Human Services; Miscellaneous Provisions

From this list we can get an idea of the types of employers that are required by law to perform the type of background screenings on potential employees required by Chapter 435. Businesses in the service field that deal directly with children, the elderly, the mentally or physically disabled, and health care services in general seemed to be the types of businesses (employers) required to perform these background screenings on potential employees.

The Two Types of Background Screenings; Level 1 Screening and Level 2 Screening

There are two types of employment background check; Level 1 and Level 2. I will start out by breaking down each of the background screenings into understandable language, then I will point out their differences.

Level 1 background screening is found under section 435.03, Florida Statutes. It as three subsections:

(1) All employees required by law to be screened pursuant to this section must undergo background screening as a condition of employment and continued employment which includes, but need not be limited to, employment history checks and statewide criminal correspondence checks through the Department of Law Enforcement, and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, and may include local criminal records checks through local law enforcement agencies.

(2) Any person required by law to be screened pursuant to this section must not have an arrest awaiting final disposition, must not have been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, and must not have been adjudicated delinquent and the record has not been sealed or expunged for, any offense prohibited under s. 435.04(2) or similar law of another jurisdiction.

(3) The security background investigations under this section must ensure that no person subject to this section has been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense that constitutes domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28, whether such act was committed in this state or in another jurisdiction.

Breakdown of Level 1 Background Check

When breaking down this statutory language note the words “by law.” This signifies that these background screenings are only appropriate for people seeking employment with entities that are required to perform these screenings. As is usual of legislative language, basic grammatical rules don’t see to apply. Therefore, I like to deconstruct the language for better understanding.
Subsection (1):

All employees required by law to be screened pursuant to this section must undergo background screening as a condition of employment and continued employment which includes, but need not be limited to, employment history checks and statewide criminal correspondence checks through the Department of Law Enforcement, and through the Department of Law Enforcement, and a check of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, and may include local criminal records checks through local law enforcement agencies.

Subsection (1) let’s us know what a Level 1 screening consists of, however – the words “not limited to” suggests that further background screenings that are more in depth is a possibility. With that in mind, this should be considered a list of the minimal amount of screening required for employment which requires a Level 1 screening.
Subsection 2:

Any person required by law to be screened pursuant to this section must not have:

  • an arrest awaiting final disposition,
  • must not have been found guilty of, . . . and
  • must not have been adjudicated delinquent, and
  • the record has not been sealed or expunged for,

any offense prohibited under s. 435.04(2) or similar law of another jurisdiction.

I have removed some of the language because “being found guilty of” encompasses all types of adult adjudications and types of pleas. An interesting point occurs with the next line “must not have been adjudicated delinquent.” This refers to Juvenile cases and the absence of language discriminating between types of adjudications seems to suggest that a juvenile offense in which the adjudication of delinquency is “withheld” is not a bar to employment.

The statute states what a potential employee cannot have on his or her record. The following line, with the conjunction “and,” states “the record has not been sealed or expunged for” any offense prohibited by section 435.04(2). This is confusing because it is hard to discern the point being made (is a sealed or expunged record a bar to employment or not?) without a full understanding of the sealing and expungement statutes.

The first thing to understand regarding expungements is that charges stemming from an arrest has to be dropped (dismissed, abandoned, etc.) or has had to been sealed for at least 10-years in order to qualify to be expunged. Arrests where the charges are dropped are not a concern according to the language of the statute.

In order to have an arrest sealed the defendant would have been found guilty of the offense and the adjudication must be withheld. The Level 1 screening statute contemplates this when it states that the potential employee must not have been found guilty of offenses prohibited under 435.04(2) “regardless of adjudication.” Since a dropped case is of no consequence to the statute, the reference to expunged record must be concerning a record originally sealed for 10-years and then expunged.

Therefore, a record of an offense listed under 435.04(2) that has been sealed would not be a bar to employment when the language “the record has not been sealed or expunged for” is interpreted correctly. The conclusion must be that the conjunction “and” and the language “the record has not been sealed or expunged for” would be clearer if it read “unless the record has been sealed or expunged for.”

Requirements For Sealing May Provide a Bar to Employment

The requirements to have a record sealed are different from having a record expunged. In particular, a record sought to be sealed must have the adjudication withheld and, the charges of which the defendant is found guilty, cannot be prohibited by section 943. 0584 or 943.059, Florida Statutes. The list of prohibited offenses is long. This brings up section 435.04(2), which is the list of offenses that a potential employee cannot have been found guilty of in the Level 1 (or Level 2) screening. By comparing the two lists we have a better understanding of which offenses in section 435.04(2) could be sealed and not a bar to employment.

Comparison of s. 435.04(2) and s. 943.0584, F.S.
Placing overlapping statutory references in section 435.04(2) with prohibited offenses in section 943.0584, side-by-side. If statute is not prohibited by s. 943.0584 or 943.059, then sealing the record may allow potential employee to qualify for employment.

Section 435.04(2)Section 943.0584
s. 393.135, F.S.s. 393.135, F.S.
s. 394.4593, F.S.s. 394.4593, F.S.
s. 415.111, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 782.04, F.S.Homicide
s. 782.07, F.S.s. 782.07, F.S.
s. 782.071, F.S.Homicide
s. 782.09, F.S.Homicide
All Chapter 784 Felony Offensess. 784.021 and 784.045, F.S.
s. 784.011, F.S. if minor victimNot prohibited from sealing
s. 784.03, F.S. if minor victimNot prohibited from sealing
s. 787.01, F.S.Kidnapping
s. 787.02, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 787.025, F.S.s. 787.025, F.S.
s. 787.04(2), F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 787.04(3), F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 790.115(1), F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 790.115(2)(b), F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 794.011, F.S.Sexual Battery
(former)s. 794.041, F.S.Sexual Battery
s. 794.05, F.S.Sexual Battery
Chapter 796Not prohibited from sealing
s. 798.02, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
Chapter 800s. 800.04, F.S.
s. 806.01, F.S.Arson
s. 810.02, F.S.Burglary of Dwelling
s. 810.14, F.S. (if felony)s. 810.14, F.S.
s. 810.145, F.S. (if felony)Not prohibited from sealing
Chapter 812 (if felony)Robbery
s. 817.563, F.S. (if felony)Not prohibited from sealing
s. 825.102, F.S.Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
s. 825.1025, F.S.s. 825.1025, F.S.
s. 825.103, F.S.Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
s. 826.04, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 827.03, F.S.Child Abuse
s. 827.04, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
(former)s. 827.05, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 827.071, F.S.s. 827.071, F.S.
s. 843.01, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 843.025, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 843.12, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 843.13, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
Chapter 847s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, F.S.
s. 874.05, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
Chapter 893 (if felony or if any other person involved was minor)s. 893.135, F.S. and Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893
s. 916.1075, F.S.s. 916.1075, F.S.
s. 944.35(3), F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 944.40, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 944.46, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 944.47, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 985.701, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing
s. 985.711, F.S.Not prohibited from sealing

As can be discerned from the table above, many of the offenses that would prohibit a potential employee from employment are also prohibited from being sealed by section 943.059, Florida Statutes. However, some are not and this seems to confirm that subsection 2 (of section 435.03) allows for the employment of individuals that have had their record sealed even if it is a specified offense found in Chapter 435.

Subsection 3: (The Domestic Violence Bar to Employment)

Subsection 3 refers to a potential employee being found guilty of any act of domestic violence. Any act of domestic violence, where the defendant has been found guilty, cannot be sealed and, therefore, effectively bars employment.

Breakdown of Level 2 Background Check

Level 2 background check is very similar to Level 1 background check. It is more extensive.
435.04 Level 2 screening standards.—

(1)(a) All employees required by law to be screened pursuant to this section must undergo security background investigations as a condition of employment and continued employment which includes, but need not be limited to, fingerprinting for statewide criminal history records checks through the Department of Law Enforcement, and national criminal history records checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and may include local criminal records checks through local law enforcement agencies.

. . .

(2) The security background investigations under this section must ensure that no persons subject to the provisions of this section have been arrested for and are awaiting final disposition of, have been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, or have been adjudicated delinquent and the record has not been sealed or expunged for, any offense prohibited under any of the following provisions of state law or similar law of another jurisdiction[.]

The level 2 background check differs only in the minimal screening standards. Unlike a Level 1 background check, a Level 2 screening requires the taking of fingerprints and a “national criminal history records checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The prohibited offenses are the same as those listed above.

What a Potential Employee Must Disclose

Potential employees are legally bound to be truthful on all applications for employment. A person who has had their arrest record sealed has an option. Once a person has their record sealed he/she may “lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed record” for employment purposes, among other benefits. See. s. 943.059(4)(a), Fla. Stat. The exceptions to this ability to lawfully deny an arrest are broad when it comes to employment areas. Specifically, the statute states:

Section 943.059(4), Florida Statutes

[s. 943.059](4) EFFECT OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD SEALING.—A criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered sealed by a court 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., 8., 9., and 10. 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, s. 943.0583, 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 Families, 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, a district school board, a university laboratory school, a charter school, a private or parochial school, or a 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;

8. Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services;

9. Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian pursuant to s. 744.3125; or

10. Is seeking to be licensed by the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm. This subparagraph applies only in the determination of an applicant’s eligibility under s. 790.06.

(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.

If we review the “listed agencies” in s. 435, above, we will find some similarities with the agencies listed is s. 943.059. In the sealing statute, the listed agencies are as follows:

  • Criminal Justice Agency
  • The Florida Bar
  • Department of Children and Families
  • 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
  • The Department of Juvenile Justice
  • The Department of Education
  • The Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services

The law states that when a person seeks direct employment, employment as a contractor, or licensing to work through these agencies he or she must disclose the record of arrest. This statute differs from 435 above, in that it is not a bar to employment. It only requires disclosure even if the record has been sealed.

Conclusions

The conclusions we seek are what effect would sealing an arrest record have on a person seeking employment with an entity that requires a Level 1 or Level 2 background check and would a sealed record have to be disclosed.

It seems the language of sections 435.03 and 435.04, Florida Statutes, would remove the bar to employment for those arrests that are “not prohibited from sealing” and the arrest has been sealed. We can conclude that sealing an arrest record may help in obtaining employment with such entity.

Section 943.059, Florida Statutes, that governs the sealing of records, will require the truthful disclosure of any sealed arrests to those agencies that require the Level 1 and Level 2 background screenings. Here we may conclude that even if the record is sealed a person seeking employment with one of these entities would still be required to disclose the details of the arrest. For this reason, anyone seeking to have their arrest record sealed or expunged should obtain certified copies of the court records prior to the final order.


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Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.

If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located in Orlando, FL. He provides representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.