Expungements, Non-Citizens, and Wannabe Lawyers

The Premise

  1. You have been arrested once in your life.
  2. You are eligible to seal/expunge the record (I'll use "expunge" throughout this post but it pertains to both).
  3. You want to expunge your arrest record.
Everyone who is eligible should get this done.

The Extra-Issues

  • You're a student who plans to go to law school one day.
  • You're a non-citizen that wants to extend your status, change your status, or become a citizen some day.
  • You are anybody else.

Key Issue You Cannot Overlook When Expunging or Sealing Your Record

Expunging or sealing a criminal arrest record is a legal opportunity that everyone eligible should take. Currently, Florida law allows you to either seal or expunge one criminal arrest record in your lifetime. There have been efforts to expand this but this is the present state of the law.

The one key issue I want to stress in this post is that if you plan on sealing or expunging your record you need to obtain certified copies of the pertinent documents found in the court file. Not just regular copies but certified copies. And you need to obtain those certified copies of all the pertinent paperwork before the process is completed.

KEY TAKE-AWAY: Obtain certified copies of the pertinent records in your court file


Those certified documents should be kept in a secure place. They may be needed in certain situations such as applying to the Florida Bar or if you are not a United States citizen. Otherwise, you should take advantage of the law that allows you to lawfully deny that the arrest occurred.

People that should be thinking about this:

Non-citizens: Not all arrests are going to get you deported. Which ones that will, however, are expanding and changing everyday. You cannot change the fact that you have been arrested. You can try to expunge that arrest record. Before you do or when you are consulting with a lawyer to expunge your record make sure to secure certified copies of the court record. You will need them in the future if your goal is to become a citizen or re-apply for a visa.

Wannabe Lawyers: Despite the fact that the Florida Bar is the one mandatory "association" every Florida Lawyer must be a member of and that lawyers are suppose to know the law it doesn't extend all the way up. The Florida Bar will want to see the court documents of any arrest you were involved in when you apply for membership. The law requires you to disclose any expunged arrest to the Florida Bar and they will not understand what it means when you tell them your record was expunged. It is much easier just to have those certified documents handy.

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For more information please go to my website.

, Attorney, P.O.Box 3591, Orlando, FL 32802-3591  (407) 841-5555

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