I have written a lot about the sealing and expunging of criminal records and criminal cases in Florida. Over the next few weeks I am going to answer, in as much detail as I can, the differences between sealing and expunging a record and how to expunge or seal a record. What is an expungement? How does it differ from having a record sealed? And how do you get a record expunged?
Expungement means that your record and all of the data about your case is removed from law enforcement records. It becomes obliterated for all time. When a record is sealed certain government agencies and related entities have access to it. With an expungement those government entities cannot get the information without a court order. So if you get your record expunged any government entity doing a background check on you would be informed that your criminal history information has been expunged from the record.
Expungement of a criminal record is very limited. If you have had a record sealed, you can have that record expunged after 10 years. There is only one exception to that rule. If your case was nolle prosequi, no billed, no information, or dismissed before trial, you can have your record expunged immediately if all charges have been disposed of and the record is otherwise eligible for expungement. The expungement process is not automatic. In order to avail yourself of this procedure, you can go to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website, or contact a Miami or Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer.
Commentary by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Yale Galanter:
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