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What is the difference between sealing and expunging?

Depending on what you have experienced or what life has in store for you, you might be thinking about how your criminal record may impact your future plans. If you are concerned with how your past mistakes may come back to haunt your future, you should speak to an attorney about having your record expunged or sealed.

Just wanting your criminal record to go away won't get rid of it. Figuring out which option is best for you, and if you are eligible to do it is a great place to start. In Florida, criminal records are public and include every arrest no matter the outcome. In other words, it doesn't matter if the arrest ended in conviction or dismissal. An arrest of any kind leads to a criminal record.

Sealing a record makes it invisible to the public, but it can't keep certain government or other related agencies from looking into it. Expunging a record, however, can. When your criminal record is expunged, it is still made invisible to the public but only known to government or other related agencies as being a record that has been expunged.

Regardless of what option you choose, there are certain steps you have to take for both sealing and expunging a criminal record. In Florida, you must apply for a Certification of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Depending on your record you may not be eligible, or there may be certain things that can't be included.

For help applying to the FDLE or for information about what can and cannot be included in your expungement or record sealing, speaking to an attorney can help.

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