If you’re unemployed with a criminal record, you might find that it’s taking considerable effort on your part to get interviews. The South Florida job market is extremely competitive by default. Sometimes, the decision to hire one candidate over another equally qualified candidate comes down to the fact that one candidate has a criminal record and the other doesn’t. If you’re the candidate with the criminal record, you must take steps to bring yourself up to par with the potentially thousands of others looking for the types of jobs you seek.
At a time when millions across America are job hunting, knowing that your potential employer can discover your criminal background can discourage you from trying to rebuild your life after getting into trouble with the law. Instead of giving up, consider how sealing or expunging your record may boost your “employability” and protect your reputation.
Record Sealing and Expungement Can Save Your Career
Whether you want to work in customer service or dream of becoming a teacher someday, having a criminal charge on your record can prevent you from making progress in your life and achieving your goals. Even if you’re looking to get started at an entry-level position, the hiring manager reviewing the resumes of two equally qualified individuals will ultimately conduct a background check. When deciding between the two candidates, unfortunately, hiring managers will feel more secure selecting the individual with a clean past.
Sadly, those who face criminal charges carry a stigma that is challenging to break in the U.S. However, not all hope is lost. The criminal justice system allows for the sealing or expungement of a criminal record, so long as the charge meets certain specifications. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer in the West Palm Beach area, you’ll soon discover the steps you need to take to give yourself a leg up in your job search if you’ve been charged with an offense.
Why Should I Want My Record Sealed or Expunged?
When your criminal record is sealed or expunged, it is no longer a public record (see: s. 943.0585 and 943.059, Fla. Stat.) and it is exempt from disclosure. The court orders the Clerk of Court and the law enforcement agency that arrested you to remove your case from the public database. When this happens, your arrest no longer appears in background checks and you may legally deny having been arrested or convicted of the offense.
The records that are sealed or expunged include those in the possession of the following:
- The arresting agency
- The sheriff’s department
- The state attorney’s office
- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Any other official government agency that received your arrest record must also destroy it or make it confidential, depending on whether your record was expunged or sealed. They may not legally disclose information about your arrest without a court order.
Record Sealing vs. Expungement
The difference between record sealing and expungement is that, when sealing records, they become confidential and exempt from public record, while expunged records are physically destroyed by any entity that possesses them. Only the following parties may access records after they’re sealed:
- The subject of the record (you)
- The subject’s attorney
- Criminal justice agencies
- Some licensing agencies
Additionally, you may deny you were arrested if your record is sealed, unless you find yourself in the following circumstances:
- You’re named as a defendant in a criminal prosecution
- You’re applying for a position in criminal justice
- You’re applying to have your record expunged
- You’re seeking employment or work from the Department of Children and Families or the Department of Juvenile Justice
- You’re seeking employment, contracting, or licensing in a position in which you would have direct contact with children, people who have developmental disabilities, or the elderly
- You’re seeking employment or licensing from the Department of Education
- You’re attempting to buy a firearm from a licensed dealer
There may be other circumstances in which you must disclose your arrest even if your record was sealed. Talk to a sealing and expungement lawyer for more information.
Steps to Take After Record Sealing or Expungement
After you apply to have your record sealed or expunged, you should take the following steps to make the most of this process:
- Obtain a certified copy of your court file
- A certified digital copy of the order granting your petition
- A certified letter from the Clerk of Court stating that you have no record
Don’t Delay Another Day. Contact West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel
Record sealing and expungement may take several weeks to complete, and seeing results may take a few months, especially if you’re hoping to land a new job with your clean slate! Don’t hold back on seeking the information you need to get started. Call The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at 561-622-5575 or complete a contact form. Attorney Brian Gabriel has more than 30 years of experience standing up for the rights of individuals who are criminally accused throughout Palm Beach and surrounding counties. Learn today how Attorney Brian Gabriel may be able to help.