There is no doubt that there’s a stigma of having a criminal record, and many people don’t truly realize the extent of this stigma until they experience it for themselves. While a criminal record can affect someone in many ways, there are three particular areas of life that are impacted the most: 1) employment, 2) housing, and 3) education.
When you have a criminal record, it can and most likely will influence your employment, housing, and educational opportunities for years to come. This is because employers, landlords, apartment complexes, and educational institutions are all interested in applicants’ criminal records.
In many cases, an employer, a landlord, or even a college or state licensing board will turn someone away because of something negative that comes up on a background check, which is why expungements are so beneficial to those who qualify.
Expungements in Florida
Under Section 943.053 of the Florida Statutes, adult criminal record histories are public information although there are special provisions for access unless the person’s record has been expunged or sealed.
What criminal history information may be seen? Arrest records, charges, and case dispositions. But if a criminal record is “sealed,” the access is highly restricted and if it’s “expunged” it has been removed from the files or record systems and destroyed.
As you can imagine, it’s highly beneficial for someone to have their criminal record expunged. It removes a lot of barriers in terms of employment, housing, and education, so it’s well worth the effort.
In Florida, there are seven methods to seal or expunge a record, including:
- Administrative Expungement Under Sect. 943.0581.
- Court-Ordered Expungement or Sealing Under Sec. 943.059 and 943.0585.
- Juvenile Diversion Expungement Under Sec. 943.0582.
- Lawful Self-Defense Expungement Under Sec. 943.0585(5).
- Human Trafficking Expungement Under Sec. 943.0583.
- Automatic Juvenile Expungement Under Sec. 943.0515.
- Early Juvenile Expungement Under Sec. 943.0515(1)(b)2.
If you have a criminal record, whether it involves an arrest or a conviction, I encourage you to contact my Miami criminal defense firm for a free consultation. I’d be happy to review your case to determine if you are eligible to petition the court to have your criminal record history expunged or sealed.