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Gainesville, FL  32601
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Gainesville Criminal Record Sealing Attorney

Record Sealing

Mistakes happen. But your past does not have to follow you around forever. Certain charges may be expunged from your record. In the state of Florida, there are charges that may be expunged from your record almost immediately after their conclusion. This prevents your criminal history from hindering your job, financial or legal status.

If you have a criminal history and are applying for jobs, educational opportunities,  or are making other changes in your life, you should speak with an attorney about having your past record expunged.

Gainesville Record Expungement Lawyer

If you want to seal or expunge your criminal record in Gainesville, or any of the surrounding areas in Florida, including Ocala, Alachua, and Lake City, contact the Galigani Law Firm. Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal lawyer who is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and is evaluated for professionalism, tested for expertise in all areas of Florida’s criminal laws. Call the Galigani Law Firm today for a free consultation at (352) 375-0812 about your questions regarding record sealing in Florida.


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Please review the following FAQ's regarding Expunging and Sealing of Criminal Records:

1. What effect does sealing or expunging my record have?

Under Florida law, a sealed or expunged criminal record is confidential and not subject to disclosure by any State or Federal agency who possesses it. A criminal justice agency that possesses your criminal record is not allowed to say that you even had a criminal record, or that it was sealed or expunged. Also, information regarding the criminal offense that was sealed or expunged is removed from the Criminal Justice Information System so that it does not come up on any background checks. The only instance in which the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) may reveal the existence of an expunged record to the following parties if an individual is applying to them for employment or a professional license:

  • A law enforcement agency
  • The Department of Juvenile Justices
  • A contractor or licensee dealing with children
  • The Department of Education
  • Any public school
  • Any private school
  • The Florida Bar

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2. What is the difference between Sealing and Expungement of my records?

Sealing does not require certain agencies to actually “destroy” their records whereas a court order expunging records does. Once sealed, the public will not have access to the person’s criminal record (except for government officials). Both sealing and expunging a record removes the information from public records. Both require that the information be made confidential. Expungement goes one step further and physically destroys the records of arrest. Once expunged, the only way to a person from the public can access an expunged record would be through a court order.


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3. Will it still show up on my background check?

No. Expungement seals the records so that the public cannot view the case.


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4. Can the public access a sealed record easier than an expunged record?

No. Both procedures remove all information regarding the sealed or expunged record from the public view. A court order is necessary before a court record can be unsealed after a sealing or expungement has taken place.


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5. When must an expunged record be divulged?

Even though the expunged record is destroyed and unavailable to the public (meaning it will not show up on any background checks) the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) may reveal the existence of an expunged record to the following parties if an individual is applying to them for employment or a professional license:

  • A law enforcement agency
  • The Department of Juvenile Justices
  • A contractor or licensee dealing with children
  • The Department of Education
  • Any public school
  • Any private school
  • The Florida Bar

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6. How long does it take?

Typically, it takes four to six months to expunge a criminal record.


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7. Can it be done faster?

The courts work on a first come, first serve basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner it is heard and decided. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it sealed.


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8. Can I seal or expunge more than one case?

No, you can only seal or expunge one case. If you have a case sealed for ten years than you can expunge that same case but you can’t seal or expunge multiple cases.


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9. I had multiple charges from one arrest, can I seal or expunge them all?

Yes, if they stem from the same criminal episode and you were not convicted of any of the charges.


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10. What if I had a criminal history of another state sealed or expunged then am I eligible in FL?

Yes, but only if the record was sealed or expunged by operation of law with no court order or petition by the defendant.


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11. What is the difference between “adjudicated guilty” and a “withhold” of adjudication?

When you enter a plea to an offense the judge can either adjudicate you guilty (if an adult), adjudicate you delinquent (if juvenile), or “withhold adjudication” of guilt or delinquent. Only charges that were either dropped or had a “withhold of adjudication” can be expunged or sealed.

In Florida, a defendant can be found guilty of an offense but not be “convicted” of it. When a judge “withholds” adjudication of guilt the defendant is not “convicted” although he or she is still “found guilty” of the offense. Being “found guilty” and being “adjudicated guilty/delinquent” are two separate things.

Offenses that have adjudication “withheld” may be eligible for sealing. Offenses that were dropped or dismissed or nolle prosequi (nol prossed) can be expunged. An offense that you have been convicted of (adjudicated guilty) cannot be sealed or expunged.


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12. What if I don’t know exactly what is on my record?

We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done.


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13. Can I expunge my federal conviction?

You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President.


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14. Do I have to go to court?

No. We are licensed attorneys so we go to court for you.  Hearings are rare and we are typically able to have the case granted without a hearing.


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15. When is there a hearing?

Typically, the judge only requests a hearing in extremely recent cases.


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16. How long does it take for the records to be updated?

The court updates the court records within 48 hours and the agencies have up to 60 days to update their records. However, the agencies typically update their records before the 60 days expire.


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17. How do the agencies know it is granted?

Once the court grants the expungement, the clerk of the court sends certified copies of the order to the prosecuting attorney, arresting agency, and any agency to which the court disseminated the criminal history information to. The arresting agency then sends the order to any other agency to which the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history information to. Additionally, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement forwards the order to expunge to the FBI.


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18. Why are cases denied?

If it is denied, it is usually because the criminal history reflects (1) the person has been convicted or adjudicated guilty of any felony or misdemeanor, (2) a prior sealing or expungement, (3) a pending petition to seal or expunge, or (4) that some or all of the charges related to the arrest or case were not dismissed prior to trial, adjudication, or the withholding of adjudication.


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19. If I had my civil rights restored, does my criminal history disappear?

No. Persons who have been convicted of a felony (which causes a loss of civil rights) aren’t eligible for a seal or expungement of their criminal history, regardless of restoring civil rights.


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20. Can I vote after this?

If you are eligible for your expungement then your voting rights are not taken away and you can currently vote.


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21. Will it help with immigration?

It can still be viewed and considered when determining your immigration case; however, it will likely be favorably received and may increase your chances during the immigration proceedings.


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22. Will this clear my FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles record?

Expungement does not influence your driving record; however, that record, unlike your criminal history, only lasts for a certain period of time and the record will disappear after that period of time.


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23. Will this restore my right to own a firearm?

If you are eligible for your expungement then your gun rights are not taken away and you can currently own or possess a gun.


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24. How is the effect of expunging a criminal record different from sealing a criminal record?

When a criminal record is sealed, the file is wrapped in duct tape. When a criminal record is expunged, the file is physically destroyed. Please remember, however, that even if your criminal record is expunged, you still must acknowledge the arrests covered by that record if you are applying to work for a criminal justice agency, if you are the defendant in a criminal case, if you apply to the Florida Bar and if you are applying to work with children, the disabled, or the elderly.


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Galigani Law Firm | Ocala Record Sealing Attorney

Contact the Galigani Law Firm today for a consultation about sealing or expunging your criminal record throughout Alachua County in Florida. Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Gainesville who will make every effort to help you seal or expunge your criminal record. Contact the Galigani Law Firm at (352) 375-0812 for a consultation about expunging your criminal record throughout the counties in Florida, including Marion County, Levy County, Columbia County and Gilchrist County.