Seal FL Records Record Sealing and Employers Choosing Attorneys Benefits of Sealing FL Record Sealing Law

The Effects of a Criminal Record on your Career in Florida

Having an arrest record in Florida can haunt you for many years to come. More and more employers rely on background checks for hiring purposes. The Society for Human Resource Management shows that at least 80% of employers use criminal background checks for employment screening purposes. If your record contains any negative information, even something as simple as an arrest without an actual finding of guilt, an employer could possibly deny you the job, career, and future that you otherwise deserve. If you have an arrest on your background, there is a 4 out of 5 chance that your future boss will know about it before deciding whether or not to give you the job you want.

When an employer in Florida performs a criminal background check, he or she will see everything that has occurred in any brushes with the criminal justice system unless the record has been sealed or expunged. It is the policy and law of the state of Florida to release all records, even those without dispositions. Florida will release juvenile records prior to October 1994 if the crime would have been a felony and prior to June 1996 if it would have been a misdemeanor.

How Sealing your Florida Criminal Record will Help

Record sealing and record expungement are two options offered by the state of Florida to individuals wanting to remove arrests from the public view. You are eligible to seal your arrest record if you received deferred adjudication from the court, were found innocent at trial, or had your charges dropped by the prosecutor. It is important to note, however, that you may not seal your record if you pled guilty to or were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.

Once you have sealed your record in Florida, it will be considered hidden from public view. After your arrest record from Florida is sealed, it is considered confidential and is no longer available to the general public. This means that your neighbors, friends, future employers, and other inquiring entities will not be able to see your criminal history. You will not have to admit that the arrest occurred. It is important to note, however, that the record does not entirely disappear. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will reveal the sealed record to a law enforcement agency, the department of Juvenile Justice, a contractor or licensee who deals primarily with children, the department of education, any public or private school, and the Florida Bar association.

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What if I want to Seal my Criminal Record myself in Florida?

While record sealing is an excellent option for people wanting to move past an arrest and get on with their careers, the process of having your record sealed is both complicated and lengthy. The process will include first applying to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a certificate of eligibility. This includes being fingerprinted, paying processing fees, and waiting. Once your application is submitted, there is typically a 3-4 month wait. For example, the FLDE indicated in January of 2012 that they were currently processing applications for the previous November.

Deciding to Hire an Attorney to Seal your Florida Record

While you have the option to attempt to seal your record on your own, it is generally not recommended. Hiring an attorney to represent your interests in sealing a Florida criminal record is a great way to ensure the process is done right the first time. Receiving a rejection for either your certificate of eligibility or petition to have your record sealed can result in extra delay, adding more time before you can move on with your life, career, and family. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, so contacting an attorney as soon as possible is highly recommended.

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