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Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record – Benefits and Reasons for Denial

As a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale, I oftentimes receive inquiries regarding whether a client is eligible to seal or expunge their criminal record. I created this “cheat sheet” for my clients to understand the benefits of sealing or expunging a criminal record and the common reasons for denial.

Due to the economic downturn, the unemployment rate in the United States is hovering around 9%-10%. As a result, employers can be very particular with their new hires and may preclude hiring an individual with any criminal record. Worse yet, with advances in technology, employers can inexpensively uncover your criminal history from anywhere in the United States with no time limitations. I recently had a client fired from his job for not disclosing a misdemeanor marijuana charge from 1978! In addition to employers, criminal background checks are common when applying for housing, professional licenses, security clearance, and certain bank loans. I have even heard of potential dating partners researching an individuals’ criminal history before dates.

When you expunge your criminal record, your criminal history is no longer accessible to the public. Such criminal history includes your Court Case number, your Jail file, and the police record of the incident (i.e. probable cause affidavit). Please be aware, that if you were arrested for a crime, even if the charges were never filed or your case was dismissed for any reason, the record of your arrest and Court Case remains public access until you expunge your case. It is worth repeating that even if the State Attorney’s Office “dropped” or announced a Nolle Prosequi (“Dismissal”) of your case, the record of your arrest and Court Case are still available for employers to view until you expunge your case.

In most situations (including all expungements), you may legally deny that you were ever arrested for the crime that you had sealed or expunged. Think of the value of not having to tell an employer of your youthful indiscretion or poor-behavior that is currently leaving an indelible mark on your resume. The cost-benefit of spending a few hundred dollars to hire an attorney to seal or expunge your record could potentially net you tens of thousands of dollars in the future. Please note, in Florida, it takes approximately 6-7 months for a Court to expunge your record. As a result, be proactive – do not wait until you are applying for a new job before petitioning the Court to expunge your case.

Common Reasons for Denial
I receive dozens of phone calls a year from individuals who were improperly advised by their previous criminal defense attorney that they can seal their record of the arrest. I am always amazed when criminal defense attorneys misstate the law on sealing as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement provides a detailed explanation on their website of which crimes are ineligible to be sealed or expunged.

By far, the most common inquiry I received concerns the criminal offense of Driving While Under the Influence. In the State of Florida, anyone who accepts a plea to Driving While Under the Influence receives an Adjudication of Guilt. An individual cannot receive a Withhold of Adjudication to Driving While Under the Influence, unless the State Attorney changes the charge to Reckless Driving. The law is clear that an individual CANNOT seal or expunge their record if they have ever been ADJUDICATED guilty of any criminal offense, including Driving While Under the Influence or Driving While License Suspended.

The second most common inquiry concerns individuals who were improperly advised by their previous criminal defense attorney that they can always seal the record of their arrest if they received a WITHHOLD of ADJUDICATION to the charge. Again, I consider this legal malpractice considering the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website specifically enumerates which crimes are ineligible to be sealed, regardless if adjudication of guilt was withheld. Of note, all the ineligible offenses are listed in Fla. Stat. 907.041.

Criminal defense attorneys most often misrepresent that the following crimes can be sealed if the client received a withhold of adjudication: (1) Burglary of a Dwelling; (2) Any act of domestic violence; and (3) Stalking. These charges cannot be sealed even if the charge is a misdemeanor and you received a withhold of adjudication. In addition, an individual can only seal or expunge their record on ONE occasion. An individual cannot seal a charge in 2010 and expect to seal another charge in 2011.

Although you do not need an attorney to petition the Court to seal or expunge your criminal record, it is my recommendation to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle this matter for you. Most attorneys in Florida will charge anywhere between $ 500.00 – $ 1,000.00 for this service. As making sure you correctly seal or expunge your criminal record could be one of the most important decisions you make in your lifetime, it is beneficial to make sure it is done properly.

The information in this article site was developed by Lyons, Snyder & Collin, P.A. for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The transmission and receipt of information from this article does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship with Lyons, Snyder & Collin. Persons receiving the information from this article should not act upon the information provided without seeking profession legal counsel.

The author Philip M. Snyder is a founding partner of Lyons, Snyder & Collin, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Philip M. Snyder handles all criminal defense matters including sealing and expungments, domestic violence and restraining orders. The Fort Lauderdale law firm of Lyons, Snyder & Collin, P.A. is located at 312 Southeast 17th Street, Third Floor, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316. Telephone: 954.462.8035.

Article Source:

title: Criminal Minded 08 / artist: KRS-One / year: 2008 / directed by: Rik Cordero and Nancy Mitchell /
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Question by : What are the best countries to live in, even though I have criminal record?
I understand that there are some countries that I am unable to live in with a criminal record, what are the best countries I live in with a criminal record?

Sensible answers only!

Best answer:

Answer by DANIELA R
If you have a criminal record,then,Afganistan is your country.

What do you think? Answer below!
Law allows sharing of juvenile criminal records
School officials and law enforcement authorities in Illinois will be allowed to share juvenile criminal records on a limited basis under an Illinois law signed Monday, legislation that was sparked by a 2008 knife attack on a suburban Chicago teacher.
Read more on Quad City Times

Are you interested in becoming a firefighter? This video takes you through the recruitment process (Part one of two)

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38 Responses to “Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record – Benefits and Reasons for Denial”

  • TWFRS:

    @SRPC21 PS to find our website you can just Google “Tyne and Wear Fire”.

  • TWFRS:

    Hi that’s great news, good luck!! Our recruitment page on role-related tests includes a tab called ‘Equipment’ that includes some information about this – can’t put a link on here but go to our website homepage » Recruitment » Firefighters » Selection Process » Role-Related Tests . LFB also have a great website so you should find some useful information on their recruitment pages. Good luck and hope this helps – let us know how you get on.

  • SRPC21:

    Hey, I have my Physical tests this Saturday for the London Fire Brigade. I am very physically fit but I am worried about the ‘equipment assembly’ part. Do you have any advice? Thanks for your help, I’ve wanted to be a Fire Fighter because all those working in the service are always approachable

  • TWFRS:

    Hi, sorry to hear you failed the physical tests. The only advice we can give is all conatined in our website – but it includes information on each aspect on the recruitment process and a downloadable fitness guide. Which fire service are you applying for? They may have information on their website too.

  • scatteredmist:

    any tips on how I can train for the equipment carry as I just failed this on my firefighter physical? I managed to complete all other physical tests but over exerted myself … got till next May to train and improve fitness, I’ve passed written tests and achieved high marks on the second part of the application form(pqa). I’m fairly fit but found the equipment carry hard as it was my last test.

  • TWFRS:

    – Although you do not have to have any formal educational qualifications, it is important to remember that Firefighters are required to interpret a variety information, problem solve and work with numbers on a daily basis so a good basic knowledge of arithmetic is required. If you need help with your numeracy skills visit the Learn Direct website for more information.

  • dale9864:

    so what is the level that u need for maths and english

  • TWFRS:

    Hi unfortunately I can’t put website addresses in here – google Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Recuitment and Fire Services North East Recruitment and you should see the sites from there.

  • dale9864:

    ty but can u send me a link to it plz i carnt find it ty

  • dale9864:


  • TWFRS:

    Hi – all information is available at the fireservices north east website and our twfire recruitment website. Thanks.

  • dale9864:

    so were do i download the test

  • The Moth lives:


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