Many of Broward County criminal attorney William Moore's clients are concerned about the effect that a criminal record can have on their lives. Having a criminal record in your past can be problematic for many reasons. Employers are increasingly conducting background checks on potential employees, and workers with a past criminal records are seeking to have their records expunged or sealed in higher numbers. Most commonly, the offense on their criminal record represents either a serious departure from the person’s normal character or it was a result of a misguided youthful mistake. After all, a person can go joyriding in somebody else’s car at 18, but turn into a loving father with a respectable job at 35. These mistakes should not be held against them forever. Less frequently, people seek to have their records expunged because the conviction was the result of past problems in their lives, such as a drug addiction for which the individual was later successfully treated.
Generally speaking, Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore notes that adult criminal records are a matter of public record, and a single arrest -- even if you were not convicted of the crime -- can follow you as you apply for jobs, seek approval for apartments or in homeowners’ associations, and otherwise interfere with your life. Sealing records makes them unavailable to the general public. However, certain government agencies would have complete access to the records. If the criminal records are destroyed, however, the records will not be publicly available (as with sealing), but even state agencies will be unable to view the records. Instead, they will only be able to see that there was an expunged record, but will not have access to the specific information contained within it.
Sealing and expunging of records requires that the applicant obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before going to court on the matter.
You will also have to be fingerprinted and meet other procedural and statutory eligibility requirements. In some instances, the record may need to be sealed for a period of ten years before expunction is a possibility.