What you need to know to seal your criminal record in Sarasota

One arrest can follow you around for the rest of your life, even if you were never convicted. Having that “black spot” on your record can severely affect your professional life and employment. If you were arrested and the charges against you were dismissed, dropped, or you received a withhold of adjudication, it is likely that we at Pallegar Law, P.A. can seal your criminal history. Contact an experienced Sarasota criminal defense attorney today at Pallegar Law Firm to find out if you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed.

What happens when you Seal your Criminal Record?

If you have had your record sealed, you can legally deny the arrests in the sealed record. The public will not have access to the sealed part of your record and it will not show up on a potential employer’s criminal background check. However, certain government bodies will have access, including judges and criminal justice agencies. Also, you cannot legally deny the arrests if you are applying for immigration or admission to the Florida Bar, are involved in a criminal case, or are employed or seeking employment to a criminal justice agency, the Department of Children and Family Services, or any private or parochial school.

The sealing process may take up to 9 months to complete in entirety. However, much of this process is waiting for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to issue you a Certificate of Eligibility so you are able to have your record sealed. If you decide that you would like to have your record sealed, contact a Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney today.

The first step in the sealing process is to complete some paperwork that your attorney will provide to you. This includes two pages you will need to have notarized, and one page for your fingerprints. Once the application fee is paid, FDLE will issue a Certificate of Eligibility. Then your attorney will have to petition the court and state attorney and you will have to pay for the final sealing and any outstanding court costs.

Am I Eligible to Have My Record Sealed?

In the state of Florida, you can only seal one arrest record. However, you can seal multiple arrests as long as they are directly connected to each other. You are not eligible to have your record sealed if you have already completed the sealing or expunging process for a different arrest.

There are many reasons why you may not be eligible to have your record sealed. You may not seal your record if you have a prior criminal conviction, if you had a prior record sealed (in any state), if you have an open criminal case or are on probation, or if your charge was one of the following disqualifying offenses. Even if you received a withhold of adjudication after a plea of guilty or no contest, you may not seal the record if the charge was: abuse of an elderly person, domestic violence, aggravated assault or battery, arson, child abuse, drug trafficking, homicide, kidnapping, organized fraud, manslaughter, or child pornography. (A full list of offenses can be found in Section 943.059 of the Florida Statutes).

If you or someone you know has been arrested and think they may be eligible for sealing, contact a Sarasota criminal defense attorney to explore your options. All you need to do is complete some paperwork and we will do the rest. Call Pallegar Law, P.A. today at 941-893-5816 to seal your criminal record.

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