A criminal record expungement, also known as an expunction, is when a court orders the criminal records related to your case to be physically destroyed. As a result of this order, the courts, the State Attorney’s Office, and law enforcement agencies must physically destroy or obliterate any physical or electronic records related to your case. However, pursuant to Florida law, one copy of your criminal record is retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and can be disclosed on a limited basis to law enforcement. Additionally, as part of the application process, you must complete the portion of the application which requires the State Attorney’s Office determine your eligibility for expungement.
A criminal record sealing allows you to have the court order that your criminal record related to an arrest or conviction be sealed and therefore hidden from public viewing.
It must be noted, private companies that perform background checks and obtained your criminal record prior to it being sealed or expunged may not be aware the order sealing or expunging your record and may provide your criminal history to whomever pays for their services.
After having your record expunged or sealed, you are allowed to lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests or conviction covered by the expungement. However, there are some exceptions. You must acknowledge your arrest or conviction if you are:
- Seeking employment with a criminal justice agency;
- A defendant in a criminal prosecution;
- Apply for employment at or access to Florida seaports;
- Concurrently or subsequently petitioning for to have another unrelated criminal incident sealed or expunged;
- A candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
- Seeking to be employed, licensed by, or contracted with:
- The Department of Children and Family Services
- The Department of Juvenile Justice
- The Department of Education
- A sensitive position having direct contact with children, the elderly, or developmentally disabled.
- Any public or private school
- A local government agency that licenses child care facilities