One of the biggest fears people have about having a criminal arrest record is that it is open to the public’s view. From there, the immediate consequences that stem from having an arrested record made public are dire.
For example, a single arrest record can affect a person’s employment stability. Whenever employers find out that their employees were arrested, the first thought that usually comes to their mind is whether they should fire that person. Because if you were to think about it from the business owner’s point of view, having an employee that was arrested is not good for business but a liability.
But that’s not all. In fact, many people also miss out on either being seriously considered for an employment position or for receiving a promotion that they were working so hard to get. And all of this, simply because they were arrested. Thus, one thing is for sure, none of this is good, and that is where Florida’s expungement and sealing relief comes into play.
Having a criminal record expunged or sealed results in the same legal consequence. In other words, that the criminal records become legally protected as a “confidential” record and hence, no longer subject to public records laws. In turn, what this means is that neither the government nor the public will have access to the record of that arrest unless they petition a court and the court signs an order granting access. (An unusual event).
Nevertheless, the Florida Legislature vis a vis the Florida Statutes for expungements and sealings carved out certain exceptions where people must voluntarily disclose (i.e., be forthcoming and tell the truth!) about criminal records which have been previously expunged or sealed. Why you might ask? Because of the sensitive nature of the employment positions that this applies to. For instance, if you were looking to work for the Department of Children and Families, the Florida Legislature determined that it is in the public’s interest to have individuals applying for a job that deals with Florida’s children and family matters, to have an absolute truth involving a person’s criminal background; versus a limited legal truth, which is what expungements and sealings otherwise afford.
A second example that involves such an exception which requires full and truthful disclosure of any previous criminal arrest even if previously expunged or sealed, is The Florida Bar; which is Florida’s designated association that is in charge of regulating and disciplining all Florida licensed attorneys. Thus, again, here, the Florida Legislature determined that it is in the public’s interest to make sure that any applicant for admission into The Florida Bar must be absolutely forthcoming with regards to their previous criminal history.
Additionally, we welcome you to stay tuned to our Erase The Case Blog section where we will continue to examine and explain with more detail the positive benefits, neutral facts, and negative consequences involving criminal history record expungements and sealings.
If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free legal consultation.