Our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that a momentary lapse in judgment that resulted in criminal charges may not have to ruin your reputation for life. For certain offenses, Florida state law allows individuals to have their records sealed or expunged. In order for you to be eligible for sealing or expunging, your criminal record has to be free of any prior convictions. Further, you can use this privilege afforded to you by the State of Florida only once in your lifetime.

Many people don’t know the difference between having your record sealed vs. having your record expunged. Our West Palm Beach expungement lawyers know that there are key distinctions, which we have outlined below.

Record Sealing

Having your record sealed, on the one hand, means that the court will order your criminal record to be sealed and therefore confidential from the public, future employers, or a public background search. However, the existence (but not the specific contents) of a criminal record may still be disclosed if:

  • You are seeking employment with a criminal justice agency;
  • You are the subject of future criminal prosecution;
  • You are seeking to be licensed by the Florida Bar to practice law in the state of Florida;
  • You are seeking to be employed, licensed, or to contract with the Department of Children and Families, Agency for Health Care Administration, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or Department of Juvenile Justice;
  • You are seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, certain types of public schools, private schools or child care facilities;
  • You are seeking employment or access to one of Florida’s seaports; and/or
  • You are seeking to purchase a firearm.

Expungement

Expungement, on the other hand, is a process by which your criminal records will be physically destroyed and therefore kept confidential from the public, future employers, and public background searches. However, as our West Palm Beach expungement lawyers know, one copy of your record will be kept by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). This record can only be disclosed to law enforcement. When a record is expunged, the applicable above entities (criminal justice agencies, the Florida Bar, etc.) will be informed that the record has been expunged but they will not have access to your actual record.

In both cases of sealing and cases of expunging, if you are not dealing with any of the above entities, you may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the events covered by the sealing or expungement. Essentially, aside from with situations involving the above-entities, when your record is sealed or expunge, your record returns to the way it was before the criminal incident ever occurred.

Hiring a West Palm Beach Expungement Lawyer

With nearly 5 decades of combined criminal defense experience, our West Palm Beach expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert offer skilled, aggressive representation to individuals seeking to seal or expunge their criminal records in Broward County, Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County. Our West Palm Beach record sealing lawyers are former prosecutors who have successfully handled many records sealing and expungement cases, as well as a wide variety of Florida criminal defense cases.

If you are interested in sealing or expunging your criminal record, or if you have questions about the process, or if you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert today.