What Is the Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records?

Anyone can make a bad decision and end up with a criminal record; even a small infraction can stay on your record for the rest of your life. This can create problems when you look for employment, a place to live, or even register for higher education. However, there are a few ways to have your record sealed or expunged.

When a record is sealed, it is restricted from public view; only a certain group of people can access it. Conversely, when a record is expunged, the criminal offense on file is sealed, or effective erased.

In both cases, you can claim that you have never been convicted of a crime. However, a sealed record can be re-opened with a court order at any time.

Eligibility for Expungement

Typically, juvenile records are sealed once the person turns 18. To get a record expunged entirely, your case must have been dismissed or deferred.

The state of Florida will consider expunging your record if:

  1. the arrest was a mistake;
  2. you were a juvenile when you committed the crime;
  3. the crime was committed due to self-defense;
  4. you were the victim of human trafficking;
  5. you are 26 and you were never charged or convicted with a subsequent crime; or
  6. you are between the ages of 18 to 21 and you have not been charged or convicted of a subsequent crime for 5 years.

Expungement Procedure

You must file a petition for expungement in the same court your criminal prosecution took place. This petition will only address a single crime; if you have more than one conviction you will need to file multiple petitions.

Contact Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A.

Our criminal defense attorneys have a combined total of 35+ years of legal experience. Our team of attorneys are able to build strong effective defense strategies for our clients. No matter the case; if there is a possibility for your case to be sealed or expunged, we will fight for your rights.

Call our firm today at (727) 245-9009 or contact us online for a case evaluation.