Florida law (FSS 943.059) allows for criminal defendants to get their records sealed as long as they meet certain requirements. In order to get your Florida criminal record sealed, you cannot have a criminal conviction. This means that the you cannot be adjudicated guilty of any crime. An adjudication of guilt or a conviction is much different than a guilty plea.
In a Florida Criminal Case, you have three plea options: (1) not guilty; (2) nolo contendere (no contest); and (3) guilty. In general, a plea of guilty or no contest will have the same legal effect. Therefore, when someone is reviewing your criminal background, the plea of guilty or no contest does not make much of a difference. When a Florida criminal defendant enters a plea of no contest or guilty, the judge sentences the defendant either immediately or sometime thereafter. As part of the sentence, the Florida judge will either adjudicate the Defendant guilty or withhold adjudication. If the Florida Criminal Defendant is adjudicated guilty, he or she cannot seal his Florida Criminal Record. If the judge withholds adjudication of guilt, he or she may still be eligible for a record seal. Therefore, even if you plead guilty to a crime, you may still be able to get your Florida Criminal Record sealed.
There are other factors involved, so it is important to discuss this will a Florida Lawyer that seals Florida Criminal Records. For example, you cannot get your record sealed if the crime that you pled guilty or no contest to is listed in Florida Statute Section 907.041. Also, you cannot get your record sealed if you have ever been convicted (adjudicate guilty) of any crime, even if it is not the Florida criminal offense that you are trying to seal. Therefore, it is important to talk to a Florida Criminal Record Sealing Lawyer that is familiar with the law.