Sealing Versus Expunging Your Criminal Record

I often receive telephone calls from people asking if I can help them get their criminal record expunged.  I ask them if they are eligible to have their criminal record expunged or merely sealed.  The response is usually silence since most people do not realize that there is a distinction in Florida law between getting one's criminal record expunged versus getting it sealed.  If a criminal record is expunged, then it must be physically destroyed pursuant to Florida statute section 943.0585(4).  However, if a criminal record is merely sealed, then it is not physically destroyed but its contents are still confidential under most circumstances.  See Florida statute section 943.059(4).  Once a criminal record has been sealed for at least 10 years, it may then be possible to have it expunged.  See Florida statute section 943.0585(2)(h)

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