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2 questions about getting a criminal record sealed or expunged

Having a bad mark on your criminal record in Florida could prevent you from getting a job. It could also interfere with your social relationships if someone decides to run a criminal background check on you. The effects can even haunt you for decades. At a certain point, however, you might be able to get your criminal record expunged or sealed so that your past doesn't follow you anymore.

The process of getting your records expunged or sealed may not be entirely straightforward to the average Florida resident, especially if you don't have legal training and experience. For this reason, many seeking criminal history expungement seek the assistance of a qualified criminal law attorney. In the meantime, though, you probably have a couple questions about sealing and expunging records.

What's the difference between sealing and expunging?

A sealed criminal record is a record that the public cannot access. Only special government agencies can access the information in a sealed record. An expunged criminal record is even more difficult to access. Some government agencies that can access a sealed record, cannot access an expunged record. Special court permission must be sought to open a sealed record in many cases.

What's the first thing I should do when getting a record expunged or sealed?

The first step toward getting your record sealed or expunged is to apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and ask for your Certificate of Eligibility. If you receive this certificate, however, it's not a guarantee that you will be granted an expungement or sealing. It simply indicates that you have the right to file a petition for sealing or expungement, and it's the first step in the process.

Feeling confused and want help with your record sealing or expungement?

A Florida criminal law attorney can help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming world of cleaning up your criminal background. The process could involve some legal hurtles, and it could involve some waiting, but once it's done the benefits of a sealed or expunged criminal record far outweigh the frustration involved.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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