Pinellas County Sealing and Expungement Lawyer

In Florida, sealing or expunging your record can effectively remove an arrest, charge or deposition from your criminal history and help avoid future problems in your personal and professional life. However, in order to be eligible for these processes, there are certain requirements that people need to meet. The Pinellas County sealing and expungement lawyers at Goldman Wetzel can help you determine if you meet the criteria to have your record sealed or expunged.

Having a criminal record can affect numerous aspects of your life with: employers, landlords, lenders, and others that do a background check and see charges on your record are less likely to do business with you. As a result, you might want to explore the possibility of sealing or expunging your criminal record. Given that these processes can be legally complex, you might want to enlist the help of a dedicated criminal attorney.

Difference Between Sealing and Expunging in Florida

In a broad definition, sealing or expunging a record in Florida are very similar in purpose: to remove a criminal record from public access. Despite the similarities between these processes, there are some differences between sealed record and an expunged record.

In Florida, sealing a record implies that the record is placed under highly restricted access. It will only be available for some government agencies. Expunging a record means that the record was removed or destroyed from most record databases. To access an expunged file, a court order will be required.  A Pinellas County attorney can assist with this process.

According to Florida Statute § 943.053, criminal history records are public. This means that anyone can access them and see a list of a person’s charges and criminal history information. However, if they meet certain requirements, defendants can file to seal or file for expunction to “hide” their record from interested parties.

As established before, government agencies will still have access to a sealed record. After an expunction, the record is removed from most criminal record systems. Nevertheless, a government agency can still have access to it as long as they have a court order.

Who Can See a Sealed Record in Florida?

In Florida, there are some situations where a government agency can have access to a sealed record. Below are some instances of who can see a sealed record:

  • Department of Children and Family Services
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education
  • Agency for Health Care Administration
  • Licensed firearm importer, manufacturer or dealer
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Department of Elderly Affairs
  • Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • Department of Education

Additionally, some agencies can also gain access to your sealed record if you are going through a criminal prosecution or if you are a candidate for a criminal justice agency or school employment.

Requirements for Sealing or Expunging a Record in Pinellas County

Given that a criminal record can create a damaging social bias for offenders long after they have paid their debts, Florida law provides them the option to seal or expunge their records.

Nevertheless, for the court to approve your request to seal or expunge your record, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Never had any other record sealed or expunged
  • The defendant did not plead guilty or no-contest
  • Not being convicted for one of the offenses listed in Florida Statute § 943.0585
  • To expunge a record you previously sealed, the record must have been sealed for at least 10 years
  • The defendant’s case has been closed and you are not under court supervision (house arrest, probation)
  • The defendant has not been convicted or guilty of a crime. Only cases where adjudication was withheld, and the incident resulted in “No Action,” “Nolle Prosequi” (dismissal), or an acquittal are eligible for records to be sealed or expunged

The criteria for sealing and expungement is technical and complex. Thus, you should consider retaining the legal services of lawyers in Pinellas County.

What Charges Cannot be Sealed or Expunged in Florida?

According to Florida law there are some criminal offenses that are not eligible for sealing or expungement. Some of the include:

Can a DUI be sealed in Florida?

In Florida, people convicted for a DUI offense will not be able to seal or expunge their record since Driving Under the Influence is considered a criminal offense. A DUI charge might be sealed if the charges were dropped or the court withheld adjudication.

If you were charged with a crime and want to know if you are eligible to seal or expunge your record, a Pinellas County lawyer can help.

Benefits of Sealing or Expunging Your Record

A criminal record can negatively affect your personal and professional life. Thus, sealing or expunging your record can provide several benefits:


You will also not have to worry about the mark on your criminal record interfering with your driver’s or professional licenses.

Employment Opportunities

Job applications typically require you to list criminal history. Once the court has expunged a record, you can legally omit the offense on the application.

Housing and Lending Opportunities

Landlords and lenders often deny applicants who have criminal records. After sealing or expunging your record, prospective property owners and banks will not be able to access it.

Naturalization Benefits

If you plan to apply for U.S. citizenship, getting a lawyer in Pinellas County to help seal or expunge your record to help protect you. The immigration department can still access a sealed or expunged record, but it cannot hold it against you when deciding eligibility for citizenship.

Resources to Expunge and Seal Your Record in Pinellas County

Florida Department of Law Enforcement: Offers information, forms, and instructions to people interested in expunging or sealing their criminal record in Florida. It also answers some frequently asked questions and provides a list of the entities that are able to access a sealed or expunged record.

The Papillon Foundation: Provides links and useful resources for expunging or sealing a record in Florida. Additionally, the foundation also provides information about how to perform different activities (such as adopting or volunteering) when having a criminal record.

Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court: Offers public access to court records so people can see current information about different cases. It also provides guidelines and information for sealing or expunging a record in Pinellas County.

Contact an Expunge and Seal Lawyer in St. Petersburg

Even if you are not convicted of a crime, you will still have criminal record listing charges that can damage your life. Thus, you might want to enlist a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney that can help you with the legal process of sealing and expunging your record.

With over 30 years of combined experience, the Pinellas County sealing and expungement lawyers from Goldman Wetzel provide legal representation to people facing criminal charges in various counties.

If you want to seal and expunge your record, speak to our defense lawyers today. Call us today to book a free no-obligation consultation.