\If you have ever been arrested, your criminal records are public records. In other words, anybody
including your family and friends, your employer or future employers, school, landlord, neighbors can
see your criminal record. Even if you pled no contest or were found not guilty of the crime(s), you still
have a record. Having a record makes it difficult to obtain employment, get admitted in graduate
programs, get school loans, obtain professional licences and obtain housing assistance, etc.
Depending on the charge, under Florida law you may qualify for expungement or sealing of your record.
The main difference between expungement and sealing is that an expungemnt completely wipes away
your criminal record, whereas a sealing makes the existing record confidential. Depending on the crime
and the disposition of your case, you may qualify for either expungement or sealing. You can have
mutiple charges sealed or expunged if they are all related or originate out of the same event.
Sealing is available if you have never pled guilty to or have been found guilty of any crime either as adult
or juvenile, must not be on probation and must not have had an expungement or sealing in another
jurisdiction. Additionally, you must not have pled guilty or have been found guilty of the crime that you
are trying to have sealed. If the court has withheld adjudication of your crime, you may still qualify for
sealing. Contact Bano Law Firm, P.L. for more information on the qualifying category of crimes. Even if
your record is sealed, you may be required to reveal if you are applying for employment or a
professional license to certain institutions.
What are the steps to have my record sealed or expunged?
1. You must apply and be approved for certificate of eligibility by the Department of Law Enforcement
2. You must file a petition for approval with the court. The court can either approve your petition
without a hearing or can request a hearing. Note that if you use a non-lawyer in this process, they
cannot represent you in court in arguing your case.
3. When the judge has approved and signed the order, you must then send it to the institutions that have
your criminal records.
Upon succesful completion of the expungement process, criminal background checks will not reveal the
presence of your expunged record. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement still retains a copy of
your record, but they are not allowed to divulge it.
Expungement, on the other hand, is the physical destruction of your criminal record by the institutions
that keep it. You are eligible for expungement if your case has been dismissed, or you were never
charged after being arrested or you were found not guilty in a jury or bench trial.
In Florida, the court has sole discretion in its decision to either order or deny the expungement of your
criminal record. It is therefore important to hire a criminal defense attorney that can represent you in
this process from the beginning until the end. Do not risk a denial of your expungement or sealing of
your Florida criminal record if you attempt to do it yourself. At Bano Law Firm P.L., we will handle
all the paperwork for you as well as represent you at any necessary hearings.
Call an Orlando Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Immigration, Bankruptcy Lawyer now
for a free initial consultation to discuss your Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, Traffic, Immigration,
Family Law or Bankruptcy case. Bano Law Firm P.L. provides aggressive legal representation for
Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Traffic, Immigration, or Bankruptcy in Orlando, Winter
Park, Tampa, Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Park, Winter Garden, Winter Springs, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach,
Melbourne, Kissimmee, Casselberry, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Lakeland, Daytona Beach, Apopka,