Even if you’re not convicted of a crime, there will be a record that you were arrested. On basic background checks, the arrest will come up, which may impact your ability to get hired for a job you want or to clear a check for other purposes.
Helpfully, it is possible to have an arrest record removed from your record through sealing the record or having the arrest expunged. You need to be eligible before these actions can happen, but there is a potential for expungement or to seal your record in some cases.
How can you qualify for expungement?
You may qualify for expungement if the case against you was dropped or if you were acquitted when you went to trial. If you took a plea, then you won’t be eligible for expungement.
How can you qualify to seal your record?
You may qualify to seal your record even if you pleaded no contest or stated that you were guilty. If you receive a “withhold of adjudication” for the charge, then you will be able to seal the record in some cases. Keep in mind, though, that there are certain crimes that cannot be sealed.
When can’t you seal or expunge your record?
You won’t be able to seal or expunge your record of certain crimes, such as certain child crimes, voyeurism or violations of the Florida Communications Fraud Act, for example. You also cannot expunge or seal your record if you were convicted of the charges brought against you.
You have more options if you avoid a conviction in criminal court
That is why it’s important to know your legal rights and to build a defense from the start of your case. If you are able to avoid a conviction, then there may be steps to help you protect your reputation and avoid having an arrest or case on your record. This helps open up new possibilities for employment and other steps you want to take in your life, which is why it’s so vital to make sure you have the right help to protect your best interests.