Benefits of Expunging a Criminal Record
If you have a criminal record, I don’t have to tell you how it can negatively affect your life – you already know. Even a misdemeanor for something such as a simple driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can affect employment, the ability to obtain a professional license, housing, travelling to Canada, auto insurance, and sometimes even child custody.
Over (and over) again, people have told me, “My criminal conviction ruined my life,” and one reason is because convictions come up on background checks indefinitely, with the exception of when they’ve been expunged.
Under Section 943.053 of the Florida Statutes, adult criminal records are public. You read that right – public – unless such records have been sealed or expunged. “A sealed record is placed under highly restricted access. An expunged record is removed from record systems or files and destroyed (also called expunction),” according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“The law currently provides several means to seal or expunge certain categories of Florida criminal history records (both adult and juvenile). The records may include arrests, charges and case dispositions,” says the FDLE.
Sealings and expungements available in Florida:
- Administrative expungements for unlawful arrests or those made by mistake.
- Court-ordered sealing or expungement for eligible applicants.
- Expungement for juveniles who have completed a diversion program for a non-violent misdemeanor not involving domestic violence.
- Expungements based on “lawful self-defense.”
- Expungement for victims of human trafficking.
- Automatic expungements for juveniles.
- Early expungements for qualifying juveniles.
Why You Should Consider an Expungement
So, what are the benefits of an expungement? For most of my clients, the biggest benefit of expunging their criminal records is how it helps them secure employment in spite of their criminal conviction. These days, the majority of employers run criminal background checks, and even if they don’t, most job applications ask people to disclose records of arrests or convictions. At the least, convictions will come up during a job interview.
The major benefit of an expungement is the job applicant can lawfully say they have not been convicted of a crime. It also helps with professional licenses. An applicant is far more likely to receive a professional license if their conviction has been expunged. Lastly, most of my clients experience a great sense of relief knowing they’ve done all they can do to repair the damage done – giving them closure.
Looking for a West Palm Beach criminal lawyer? Call today for a free case evaluation.