What is the difference between a record sealing and record expungement?
When a criminal history record is sealed, the public will not have access to it. Certain governmental or related entities, primarily those listed in Florida Statutes, have access to sealed record information in its entirety.
When a record has been expunged, those entities which would have access to a sealed record will be informed that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order. All they would receive is a caveat statement indicating that "Criminal Information has been Expunged from this Record".
Whether you qualify to seal or expunge your case depends on how the case closed out. If your case was dismissed by the judge, dropped by the state attorney, or never filed by the state attorney then the case can be expunged. If you ended up taking a plea to the case, but received a withhold of adjudication, you MAY BE ELIGIBLE to seal the case. I say "may be eligible" because not all types of charges can be sealed if you take a plea to them.
Charges considered to be "dangerous crimes" cannot be sealed if you take a plea to them. For example:
- You were charged with aggravated battery but the charges were dismissed, dropped, or never filed. You can expunge the case.
- You were charged with aggravated battery, but you ended up taking a plea and getting a withhold of adjudication. You can't seal or expunge this case.
To find out if you qualify for a record sealing or record expungement just follow the link below.