florida expungement benefits attorney eric j dirga

Florida Expungement Benefits

Arrest Record Sealing and Expungement Benefits include:

  • Making your arrest record a non-public record.
  • The destruction or making strictly confidential records held by law enforcement.
  • The sealing and eventual destruction of court records.
  • The removal of electronic information provided by government agencies to the public.
  • The ending of the sale of your arrest records.
  • The ability to deny that the arrest occurred.
  • The shortening of the Firearm Purchasing Restriction.
  • Benefits for Level 1 and Level 2 Background checks.

Your Expungement Benefits

Your expungement or sealing benefits are pretty extensive in Florida. The law is much more powerful than many attorneys realize. I have even heard other attorneys question whether it is worth getting a record expunged today because of the internet. The internet is exactly why you should get your criminal record expunged or sealed.

Let’s quickly get over the benefit of hiring me. I have over 20 years experience representing over a thousand people to expunge or seal their record. Based on this experience, I have a expungement representation cost structure worked out to make this as inexpensive as possible. Now let’s move on to your other benefits.

What is Your Arrest Record

The moment you were arrested (or receive a Notice to Appear in Court) you had an arrest record. Your arrest is made part of your criminal history that is maintained (and sold) by both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] and the Clerk of Courts.

The County Clerk of Court generates a case file to track the prosecution of the case. Most documents included in this file are public and accessible online for free. The Clerk of Court sells bulk public records data.

Law enforcement (the arresting agency and the County Sheriff’s Office) also maintain records. Law enforcement records are not public records until the criminal case is resolved (although many love to post mugshots immediately).

Expungement Benefit 1: An Expunged or Sealed Record Is Not A Public Record

Under Florida law, criminal records are public records. Once your record has been sealed or expunged, it is no longer a public record:

A criminal history record ordered expunged (or sealed) 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**.

**This subjects anyone that discloses it to liability. Liability is not automatic but the possibility is usually enough to have most private companies remove the information from their records as well.

Expungement Benefit 2: Confidentiality or Destruction

An order to seal requires all records be made confidential. An order to expunge requires all non-judicial records be physically destroyed.

➠ What The Clerk of Court Must Do

The Clerk of Court must remove all public access to your record. This means it will no longer be available for search on the Clerk’s website nor will it be available for inspections at the Clerk’s office. As far as the personnel at the Clerk’s Office is concerned – the record never existed.

➠ What Law Enforcement Must Do

The arresting agency and the County’s Sheriff’s Office must remove all access to those files. An expungement order requires the agency to physically destroy the record of your arrest. A sealing order requires them to make all records confidential. Regardless, in both circumstances the information cannot be disclosed.

➠ What The State Attorney’s Office Must Do

Like law enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office must also destroy their records (expungement) or make them confidential (sealing). A sealing or expungement makes these records non-public records and prevents them from further disclosure.

➠ What FDLE Must Do

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains a repository of every Florida arrest in its database. Once your criminal record has been sealed or expunged, F.D.L.E. will remove access to these records from their site. They will also forward the order to the FBI.

Expungement Benefits: Making Your Arrest Disappear

The ultimate goal for everyone seeking to seal or expunge their record is to have it disappear. People want it gone and expect it to be gone – completely and forever. An expunged or sealed record is the first step to getting this done. Below are some things that can be done to come as close as possible to complete redaction of your record.

Using The Law To Your Benefit

The law specifically states that a person that has had their record sealed or expunged may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged [or sealed] record. This allows you to deny that the arrest occurred and/or that you were the subject of that arrest.

In order to maximize this benefit, there are a few things you should do after your record has been ordered expunged or sealed. Even though you can lawfully deny the arrest occurred, don’t just rely on your word. Back it up with some powerful tools.

Additionally, an expungement should help you with Level 1 and level 2 background checks. Specifically, a sealed record should not be a barrier to employment or promotion. Specific employment laws regarding public employment are also in play which should protect you.

Contacting the Private Companies

Once the Clerk of Court finishes expunging or sealing your case, they will send us a certified copy of the order. We send this copy to you, which can be used to notify private background checking companies that the information is no longer a public record.

Shortening the Firearm Purchase Restriction

A withhold of adjudication on a felony or crime of domestic violence restricts your ability to purchase a firearm for three years after your case is over. Over, meaning all court obligations are done, including any term of probation. Sealing your record shortens the firearm purchase restriction period.

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