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Help With Sealing And Expungement

If you have a criminal record – even if you have been arrested but not convicted – that criminal record can have a serious negative impact on your future. It can affect your employment, housing, loan applications and much more.

Here’s the good news: You may be able to clean up your criminal record and clear your name with help from the lawyers at The Law Office of Corey I. Cohen & Associates. Located in Orlando, Florida, our law firm understands the importance of keeping your criminal record as clean as possible. We know Florida’s laws regarding criminal record sealing and expungement inside and out – and we can guide you through the process to give you the best chance of success.

Most applications to seal or expunge a criminal record can be completed via phone interviews with your attorney and through the mail. Office visits may not be necessary. Call us today to find out how to proceed: 407-680-2093.

Why Get Your Case Sealed?

Your records can seriously impact your professional and personal future. Fortunately, Florida law recently changed the rules for the sealing or expunging of a criminal record. Individuals who previously tried to seal or expunge were not qualified to do so. Now, under the new law, many more people qualify than what was previously possible. The new eligibility requirements to seal or expunge took effect on October 1, 2019. The biggest changes include:

  1. most prior adjudications of guilt in misdemeanor cases will no longer be a bar to having a qualifying case sealed or expunged;
  2. out-of-state convictions no longer matter;
  3. any juvenile arrest that resulted in an adjudication of delinquency will not bar an adult expungement or sealing (assuming the requirements of s. 943.0515, F.S., are met).

When it comes to an adjudication on a prior misdemeanor case, only an adjudication of guilty for the following offenses bars you from sealing or expunging another record:

  1. Arson under s. 806.031(1);
  2. Assault under s. 784.011;
  3. Assault on a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or other specified officers under s. 784.07(2)(a);
  4. Battery under s. 784.03;
  5. Carrying a concealed weapon under s. 790.01(1);
  6. Cruelty to animals under s. 828.12(1);
  7. Exposure of sexual organs under s. 800.03;
  8. Neglect of a child under s. 827.03(1)(e);
  9. Open carrying of a weapon under s. 790.053;
  10. Petit theft under s. 812.014(3);
  11. Unlawful possession of a firearm under s. 790.22(5);
  12. Unlawful possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property under 790.115; or
  13. Unlawful use of destructive devices or bombs under 790.1615(1).

Even if you are not convicted of a criminal charge, your arrest and charges are still public record and will still show on background checks. By sealing your case, it takes the arrest, charges and any other information about the case off of public records search.

This is very important when applying for a job. Employers will likely ask if you ever have been convicted of a crime. If you haven’t, you should say no – but if an arrest shows up on your background check, the employer may believe you lied and refuse to hire you. Most people do not understand the difference between an arrest and conviction, and that is why you want to get it sealed so that nothing comes up. Removing a mugshot from public view may also be an option.

Are You Eligible For Record Sealing?

Several factors determine whether you are able to get your case sealed:

  1. Was adjudication of guilt withheld? If you were adjudicated guilty then there is no procedure to get this case sealed.
  2. If you are convicted of a prior misdemeanor, you can still seal and expunge a case as long as it doesn’t fall under one of the exclusions mentioned above. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If so, you cannot expunge. If it’s a misdemeanor but doesn’t fall under the above list, you can still expunge.
  3. Did you plead to a case that is eligible to get sealed? Not every criminal case is able to get sealed even with a withhold of adjudication. An example of this is if you plead to a burglary of a dwelling. The arrest will show up forever.
  4. Was your charge dismissed? If so, you should apply to have it expunged, which is proper for cases that are dismissed. Sealing is only for cases where a plea was entered and the court kept the conviction off your record.

The Difference Between Sealing And Expunging A Criminal Arrest Record

When a criminal record of an arrest or conviction is sealed, it means that the record is physically sealed and there is no longer public access to it. If you took a plea to a criminal case and the judge withheld adjudication, then you can get the criminal charges sealed as long as you qualify. There are some charges that you cannot seal even with a withhold of adjudication.

A person may file for one expungement petition for each case, and they must do it in the same court in which their prosecution took place. When a criminal arrest record is expunged, the records are physically destroyed, so they are not available for public access. An expungement is much more like a clean slate than if the record were simply sealed. While it may sound simple, this is a complicated matter, call us today for legal counsel.

Contact The Law Office Of Corey I. Cohen & Associates Today

We give every new criminal defense client a free and confidential consultation. We offer reasonable rates, and flexible payment options may be available. Additionally, we have two lawyers on staff who are board certified in criminal defense.

Contact us today – and start clearing your name. Most employers do not know the difference between an arrest and a conviction. Ask us about getting your mugshot removed from government websites or commercial online sites. Stop losing jobs over something that can be fixed. Call 407-680-2093 or send an email.

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