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EXPUNGING & SEALING YOUR RECORD, by Ivan Cassuto

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It is no surprise that it has increasingly become more difficult to get a job. Whether you have impressive credentials or if you are the average Joe trying to make ends meet. Yet, what happens to those people who are of the less fortunate bunch? I am mainly talking about men and women who, unfortunately, have criminal records following their best efforts to seek employment. Although, this may still remain an issue for some, there may be a way for many to “clear” their records, and put themselves in a better position to be employed in Florida. This process is known as Expunging (wiping out your record= clean slate) and or Sealing (closing your record= not allowing anyone to see it except those who have special jurisdiction) your criminal record.

Unfortunately, the process of expunging your records takes a considerable amount of time (about 6 months if processed correctly) and has limited “sure- fire” benefits. In other words, even if you have jumped through all the correct hoops, in the correct order, and have done all the right things… there still may be a chance that your record will still follow you around, putting a burden on your future employment opportunities. This reason is primarily because these records are public. In being public records, private companies have the ability to purchase them, catalog their contents on their databases, and even post your mug shots on their websites. With this being said, these companies do not typically keep these files up to date and can pose a conflict if found while your potential employer performs a background check.

However, with understanding the pitfalls of this process, those who meet certain criteria (those who have one offense on their record that does not interfere with any caveats) may expunge their records and potentially enjoy the comfort of not indicating that they had previously been convicted when applying for a job.

What Lawyers to the Rescue has done (and will continue to do), after having gotten wind of this increasing problem, is hold seminars in the community to provide legal advice to those who have any inquiries about the expunging process and if it will be possible to clear their records! Our latest seminar took place at The Camillus House, another non-for profit humanitarian organization that provides assistance to several homeless men, women, and children in South Florida, and proved to be a success. We are proud to call The Camillus House a friend of Lawyers to the Rescue and will continue to help our community as best we can! We would also like to thank Mr. Scott Kotler, a member of Lawyers To the Rescue’s board of directors, who took time out of his busy schedule to explain this process and encourage us to continue spreading the word about this LTR initiative!

Here is a helpful guide if you have any immediate inquiries about qualifying for record expunction or sealing:
http://www.pdmiami.com/faqs_seal_and_expunge.pdf

This link is in no way legal advice, simply a basic overview. If you have any questions about the process or where/when our next seminar will be taking place, please do not hesitate to contact us!