Do You Want To Seal Or Expunge A Criminal Record In Florida? We Can Help! Call Us (407) 408-0494

In Florida, criminal history records are public record (accessible by anyone) unless the record is sealed or expunged. Often time, you may notice that your mugshot or arrest record are easily located on Google. Florida Statutes § 943.053(3) provides for public access to criminal history records. A “criminal history” record is created when you are first arrested and fingerprinted at the booking and release center. It also includes whether the arrest resulted in a conviction, acquittal, dismissal of charges before trial, or other disposition.

Also, under Florida law a person may only seal or expunge one arrest record in one proceeding. More than one record may be sealed or expunged in the same proceeding if the court, in its sole discretion, finds the arrests to be directly related.

A record that is initially ineligible for expunction (e.g., where adjudication is withheld) may become eligible after it has been sealed for 10 years. If the criminal record has been previously expunged or sealed automatically by operation of law, it will not count agaisnt you.  Under a person may only seal or expunge one arrest record in one proceeding. The court may allow additional records to be sealed or expunged if it finds it stems from the same incident.

A record that is initially ineligible for expunction (e.g., where adjudication is withheld) may become eligible after it has been sealed for 10 years. However, a person may not seal or expunge one arrest record and then, later and in a different proceeding, ask to have a different arrest record sealed or expunged. An expunction or sealing which occurs automatically or by operation of law, without any action on the part of the record subject, is not considered a prior expunction or sealing for this purpose. Under § 943.0582(8), a juvenile diversion expunge does not prevent one from seeking a judicial expunction or sealing under §  943.0585 or § 943.059.

What Is The Difference Between Having My Record Sealed or Expunged?

Sealing and Expunging a criminal record is almost the same thing, with subtle differences. Only certain government agencies under Florida Statutes § 943.059(4)(a) will have have access to sealed records in their entirety. The records will not be available to the general public or background check companies.

But if a criminal record has been expunged, those entities will receive a message indicating that the record has been expunged and will not be able to have access to it without a court order allowing them to access the record.

Expungement Process:

Florida Statutes § 943.0585(2) and § 943.059(2) set out the requirements that must be met.

First, for both sealing and expungements The Modarres Law Firm will complete Section A of the Application for Certificate of Eligibility with Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This application will have FDLE determine whether you are eligible under Florida law to have your record expunged or sealed PRIOR to requesting an expungement from the court. The application will be notarized and sent to FDLE for review. If you have questions about what charges or records appear in your criminal history records, or if you want to ensure the records are complete and accurate, we can request a personal review for you from FDLE prior to applying for the certificate of eligibility.

Second, we will obtain a certified copy of the record that you are seeking to have expunged and provide the record to FDLE. Section B of the application will be submitted to the State Attorneys Office of the District which you were arrested, charged, and/or prosecuted only if you are seeking an expungement. If you are only seeking a sealing of your records, Section B of the application will be inapplicable.

Third, you will need to have your fingerprints taken to complete the FDLE fingerprint form. You will usually be able to take the form to any law enforcement agency and they will assist you with placing your fingerprints on the form.

Last, the FDLE application will be sent, along with a $75.00 fee payable to FDLE, for review. Once the application is approved, we will receive a certificate of eligibility which will allow us to petition the court, along with an affidavit, to have your record sealed or expunged.

If you are denied for a Certificate of Eligibility, The Modarres Law Firm will be able to appeal the decision under Rule 11C-8.001, Florida Administrative Code.

It usually takes about 90 working days for FDLE to receive, review, process, and mail back the application. It will take additional time to petition the court and obtain a court order expunging or sealing your record after the certificate of eligibility is received by us.

Expungement Eligibility:

Under Florida Statutes § 943.0585 and § 943.059, a Certificate of Eligibility to expunge or seal will NOT be issued if:

  1. If you have been adjudicated guilty of a of a criminal misdemeanor or felony specified in § 943.051(3)(b). Some charges such as DUI are ineligible for expungement or sealing if adjudicated guilty. 
  2. If you have previously had a criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida or from any other jurisdiction outside the state
  3. If you have a pending petition to seal or expunge in any court of competent jurisdiction.
  4. If court supervision applicable to your arrest or alleged criminal charge to which the application for certificate of eligibility pertains has not been completed (i.e. you have not completed probation yet).
  5. You were convicted of a felony listed below.
  6. You cannot have a record sealed if you were adjudicated guilty or adjudication was withheld for a charge enumerated in § 943.059 (same charges that may not be expunged).

Felonies Not Eligible for Seal/Expungement:

Below is a complete list of felonies that are not eligible for expungement under Florida Statutes § 907.041.  A plea of  “guilty” or “no contest” to any of the charges below will invalidate eligibility for expungement or sealing:

  1. Arson
  2. Domestic Violence
  3. Child Molestation
  4. Aggravated Assault
  5. Drug Trafficking
  6. Prostitution
  7. Aggravated Battery
  8. Sexual Battery
  9. Pandering
  10. Aggravated Stalking
  11. Homicide
  12. Lewd Conduct
  13. Child Abuse
  14. Murder
  15. Robbery
  16. Child Sexual Abuse
  17. Manslaughter
  18. Carjacking
  19. Child Pornography
  20. Kidnapping
  21. Terrorism
  22. Elder Abuse
  23. Illegal Pornography
  24. Burglary

A felony is the most serious criminal law offense which, on conviction, may be punishable by severe fines, long-term incarceration and/or death (in certain cases). These charges will often go to trial so it is important to have a lawyer who will present the strongest defense in front of a judge and jury, and who will aggressively fight for your freedom.  Felony charges should never be taken lightly,

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Copyright © 2013 The Modarres Law Firm – Orlando Florida Defense Lawyers – Central Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys – All rights reserved. Orlando Criminal Lawyer Disclaimer: The civil rights, criminal, criminal defense or other legal defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Our criminal defense law firm serves the following communities, among others: Orlando, Pine Hills, Apopka, East Orlando, West Orlando, Conway, Bay Hill, Doctor Phillips, Belle Isle, Pine Castle, Oviedo, Ocoee, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Maitland, Eatonville, Winter Garden, Southeast Orlando, Southwest Orlando, Casselberry, Altamonte Springs, Maitland, Apopka, Sanford, Seminole County, Orange County, Heathrow, Lake Mary, Longwood, Midway, UCF, University Park, Thornton Park, Baldwin Park, Colonial Drive, Orange Avenue, Robinson Street, S Orange Avenue, Downtown Orlando, Alafaya Trail, University Blvd, Curry Ford, Lake Underhill, Goldenrod Road, Dean Road, Chickasaw Trail, Pershing, Semoran Blvd, Lake Margaret, Conway.

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