Criminal Records – Sealing & Expungement

There are many people who have been arrested by the police but never formally charged by the prosecutor’s office.  There are others who have been formally charged and either won their case at trial or else entered into a plea bargain with the prosecutor’s office.  Depending upon how a case is concluded, an individual may be eligible to have her case sealed or expunged.

If a case is expunged, the court file is physically destroyed.  However, if a case is merely sealed, the court file is not physically destroyed, but its contents are still confidential under certain circumstances.

Someone wanting to have his criminal record sealed or expunged should be aware that the entire process can take up to 6 months to complete since the Florida Department of Law Enforcement currently has a backlog of cases that it is working on.  It is also important to know that a judge’s decision to seal or expunge someone’s criminal record is purely discretionary; that is to say, the judge is not required by law to seal or expunge someone’s record simply because that person happens to be legally eligible to have his record sealed or expunged.

To learn more about criminal records, visit Mr. Chapman’s website, Florida Criminal Records FAQ, where you can also take a quiz to see if you are eligible to have your record expunged.

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