Getting a background check or criminal history is important in two ways when it comes to sealing or expunging your record. First, we want to know exactly what you want to take off your criminal history. Second, we want to make sure there are no mistakes to clean up first.
What is a Criminal History
Before we begin, it is good to know what a “criminal history” is. A criminal history (commonly called a “background check”) is a record maintained by the government that starts with the arrest (which includes “notices to appear”). It then adds the official charges and then the disposition. Additionally, it will have dates, places, and the who, what, and where.
No matter what the outcome of your case, whether it was dismissed, dropped or never filed on, the criminal history will always show the arrest and what you were arrested for first. A criminal history is a public record. This means it is freely available to the public. Private companies buy these public records and sell them. This is why it is important to determine if you qualify to seal or expunge your arrest as soon as possible.
Obtaining a Background Check
The background check (or more properly called a criminal history) that you want to obtain is the one from the government, in this case the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE].
F.D.L.E. Background Check; Florida Only
The FDLE provides an official criminal background check only for Florida. A criminal background check through FDLE can be obtained on their website. This only provides information for Florida. If you have arrests in other states, obtaining the official information from that state may be necessary. Cost $24.
F.D.L.E. Background Check; Florida and National
FDLE also provides a national background check. It is only for entitled entities that are required to do level 2 background checks on their employees. If you need to find out what happened in another state that you were arrested in, you need to request the criminal history from that state’s agency. You can also request information from the FBI, however that may be more tedious.
Many people believe that lawyers have unlimited access to thorough background checks. This is not true. Attorneys can log on to additional information provided by certain Clerks of Court but this is far from a background evaluation to determine your eligibility to expunge or seal your record.
Like everyone else, we must pay for a service and from there make any required inquiries from the courts that are necessary. This takes time and money. We try to be as thorough with our expungement qualification evaluation as possible while at the same time be convenient for you.
If you do not run a criminal history, as suggested above, I will make a determination on your qualification based on the information you have provided and any information I can find through Clerk of Court free online services.
Contact My Office for More Information
Go to the contact page to see all the methods to contact my office or fill out the form below.