Sealing and Expunging your Criminal Record in the State of Florida

Sealing and Expunging in the State of Florida:

It is a fact of modern life that if you have been arrested or prosecuted by law enforcement you will have a record that may follow you after the case is resolved. First, the good news, there is a process under Florida law that allows a person to first hide their record from the public view. This is process is called the sealing of the criminal record. After, the person’s record has been sealed from the public it can still be seen by some government agencies. However, there is another process that allows the record to be taken out of the government records and this legal process is having the record expunged.

The State of Florida has restrictions on who can and cannot seal and/or expunge their arrest or conviction. The regulations on who can Seal and Expunge their record are laid out by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, an agency that has jurisdiction throughout the State of Florida and is based in Tallahassee. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement or FDLE plays a large role in determining who is eligible for having their record Sealed and Expunged. There are often several misconceptions about Sealing and Expunging your record. Here are a few quick things to know about Sealing and Expunging your record. Also for more information, you can go to the FDLE website:

http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/Seal-and-Expunge-Process/Menu/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx

Quick Facts to Remember:

1. Sealing and Expunging are two different things. Remember, sealing refers to hiding the arrest or conviction from the public, but your record will still be known to some government agencies. Expunging refers to the process of having your record hidden from the public and also hidden from government agencies. Expungement, can occur immediately after your case has been sealed. However, it can only take place immediately if you were simply arrested and the case was dismissed. If you were given a withhold of adjudication, by the judge, you can have your case sealed after the final order, but you will need to wait 10 years to have the case expunged from your record.

2. You will need to pay the FDLE $75.00 to do a background check for you. If you hire an attorney to do your sealing and expungement work for you can ask if this is included in the price. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will complete this background check and issue what they call a “Certificate of Eligibility” so your attorney can begin the processes of having your record sealed and/or expunged.  

3. You can only seal and expunge certain crimes. Florida law prohibits many serious crimes from being sealed and expunged from your record. Here is a handy link to the crimes that cannot be Sealed and Expunged:  

http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/cfbb1cd3-1ca9-4a3e-a75d-01566981d6e2/Reasons-an-Application-for-Certification-of-Eligib.aspx:

Please remember that this is a brief overview of the process. If you want more information or you have questions about your case you can call my office in Orlando, Florida. My number is (407)415-9626 or email me at Jeremiah@JeremiahDAllen.com