The process of sealing or expungement is a process where the records of certain criminal offense can be “sealed” or “expunged” from the public record, including, but not limited to the court file, police reports or mugshots. The process of sealing or expungement is done after a case is closed. For first time offenders, sealing or expunging a criminal record is essential to ensuring that their lives go back to normal and that their prior record is not held against them when it comes to future employment, housing or education.
Sealing of a criminal record is when all the documents, papers and reports of a person’s arrest and prosecution are sealed from public view. After a record is sealed, an entity cannot get access to those records without a court order. Sealing is available in circumstances when someone was convicted of a crime, but adjudication was withheld. Certain offenses, usually violent crimes, such as aggravated battery, armed robbery, sexual battery and homicide offenses are not eligible to be sealed. Once a record is seal, an individual can petition the court for the record to be expunged after 10 years.
Expungement of a criminal record is when all the documents, papers and reports of a person’s arrest and prosecution are destroyed. After an expungement, there is no record that an individual was ever arrested or charged. Expungement is only available after the charges against an individual were dismissed or 10 years after their record was sealed. All offenses that result in a dismissal are eligible for expungement.
In order to qualify for a sealing or expungement, you must first be determined to be eligible for sealing or expungement. The individual seeking sealing or expungement must apply for a certificate of eligibility with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After the certificate is issued, the individual must then petition the court that has jurisdiction over their case to sign an order to that effect. The process seems simple, but often times individuals who are not educated in the law or the procedures involved, will fail in their efforts to get their record sealed or expungement. The process can also be time consuming resulting in missed days from work or school, waiting for hours on in at the clerk’s office and still not getting the desired result.
The removal of mugshots online is a time consuming and costly process. Even after obtaining an order sealing or expunging your record, mugshot websites will still display information on an individual’s arrest and the charges. The record will often show up in credit reports and some background check services after the order to seal or expunge has been signed. There over 500 websites that buy criminal records and post them online shortly after arrest. These websites are predatory and seek to profit on the arrest of individuals who are often falsely accused of a crime.
To get the mugshots and corresponding records removed from the internet, you will absolutely need professional help. A quality lawyer know the procedures necessary to get websites and background search companies to remove mugshots and criminal records of someone who has had their record sealed or expunged. Removing digital information of an arrest such as a mugshot and the charges is often the biggest concern of a first time offender. Contact an experienced lawyer like Brian Kirlew, Esq. to walk you through the process.
Contact Brian Kirlew, Esq. at 305-521-0484 to discuss your options.