Expungement and Sealing of Your Florida Criminal Record Online.

1. Contact Info
2. Free Online Evaluation
3. Approval
4. Payment

Questions about Record Expungement in Florida

· What is the difference between having a record sealed and having a record expunged?
· Are you eligible to have a record sealed or expunged?
· If I have a record sealed or expunged, do I have to admit I have a record?
· What is the process and how long will it take?
· Our Fee for Sealing or Expunging
· Common Misconceptions about Record Sealing
· What about sealing or expunging Juvenile records?

What is the difference between having a record sealed and having a record expunged?
When a record is sealed, the public will not have access to it and it will not show up on any background check. The court will enter an order directing law enforcement agencies to remove the record from their computer systems and the file is literally placed in an envelope and sealed with tape that says it is not to be opened without a court order. The record will not, however, be physically destroyed. Despite being hidden from the public, the FDLE will reveal the existence of a sealed record to certain governmental or related entities if the individual is applying to them for employment or a professional license. Those entities are:

· A law enforcement agency
· The Department of Children and Family Services
· The Department of Juvenile Justice
· A contractor or licensee dealing with children
· The Department of Education
· Any public school
· Any private school
· The Florida Bar

When a record is expunged it is physically destroyed and it will not show up on any background check. Those entities which would have access to a sealed record (such as those listed above) will be informed that a record has been expunged by receiving a statement that criminal information has been expunged from this record. They will not have access to the information in the record unless they obtain a Court Order.
Are you eligible to have a record sealed or expunged?
You are eligible to have a record sealed if:
1. you have never been convicted of or plead guilty to any criminal charge, either while an adult of a minor.
2. you have not already had a record sealed or expunged in Florida or any other jurisdiction.
3. adjudication was withheld or you were acquitted at trial on the charges you wish to have sealed. However, if the charges stem from a violation of the following, they cannot be sealed:

a. Arson - F.S. 806.01
b. Aggravated Assault - F.S. 784-021
c. Aggravated battery - F.S. 784-045
d. Burglary of a dwelling - F.S. 810.02
e. Car jacking - F.S. 812.133
f. Child abuse - F.S. Chapter 827
g. Child abuse, 12 to 18 years old, by family member - F.S. 827.071
h. Communications fraud violations - F.S. 817.034
i. Domestic violence - F.S. 741.28
j. Drug trafficking offenses - F.S. 893.135
k. Elderly abuse, or abuse of a disabled person - F.S. Chapter 825
l. Hijacking or an aircraft - F.S. 860.16
m. Illegal use of explosives - F.S. 790.001
n. Kidnapping - F.S. Chapter 787
o. Lewd or lascivious offenses in the presence of persons less than 16 - F.S. 825.1025
p. Manslaughter - F.S. 782.07
q. Murder - F.S. Chapter 782
r. Providing obscene material to minors - F.S. 847.0133
s. Computer pornography - F.S. 847.0135
t. procuring a person under 18 for prostitution - F.S. 796.03
u. Certain offenses by public employees - F.S. 839
v. Robbery - F.S. 812.13
w. Home invasion robbery - F.S. 812.135
x. Stalking and aggravated stalking - F.S. 784.048
y. Selling or buying of minors - F.S. 847.0145
z. Sexual battery - F.S. Chapter 794
aa. Sexual misconduct - F.S. 916.1075, 393.135, 394.4593
bb. Sexual performance by a child - F.S. 827.071
cc. Terrorism - F.S. 775.30
dd. Voyeurism - F.S. 810.13

4. you are not on probation.

You are eligible to have a record expunged if:
1. you have never been convicted of or plead guilty to any criminal charge, either while an adult of a minor.
2. you have not already had a record sealed or expunged in Florida or any other jurisdiction.
3. the charges you wish to have expunged were dropped or dismissed by the prosecuting entity before trial.
4. you are not on probation.
5. the record has been sealed for ten (10) years.
If I have a record sealed or expunged, do I have to admit I have a record?
If you have had a record sealed or expunged, you may legally deny the existence of that record, except if you are seeking employment from:

· A law enforcement agency
· The Department of Children and Family Services
· The Department of Juvenile Justice
· A contractor or licensee dealing with children
· The Department of Education
· Any public school
· Any private school
· The Florida Bar
  or are:
· Applying for admission to the Florida Bar being prosecuted for a subsequent crime
What is the process and how long will it take?
The process for sealing, which usually takes between 4 and 6 months, begins with a meeting where you provide us with, information we will use to complete various documents needed for the process. These documents include the Application for Certification of Eligibility, the Petition for Sealing/Expungement of Records, the Order Granting Sealing/Expungement of Records, and an Affidavit. We will provide you with a fingerprint card which you will need to take to a local police station to have your fingerprints done.

Once we have all the information we need, we will request a certified copy of the disposition of the case you want sealed from the Clerk of the Court where the charges were filed.

Once all documents have been filled out, and signed and notarized and we have received the certified copy from the Clerk and we will forward the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the Application package for processing. The package consists of the Application, the certified copy of the case disposition, the fee and the fingerprint card.

When we receive the Certification of Eligibility from the FDLE, we will forward it to the Clerk with the Petition, Affidavit, and Order. The Judge will review all the paperwork, and if there is no objection or barriers to the sealing, he will sign the Order. The Clerk will then prepare certified copies to be forwarded to all law enforcement entities involved and to us. Once the law enforcement entities receive the Order to Seal, they will seal the record at their office. Once we receive our copy, we will forward a copy to you for your records.

The process for expunging is much the same as the process for sealing, except that before the Application package is forwarded to the FDLE, it must be forwarded to the State Attorney for their approval. Once we receive their sign off on the Application we then forward the Application package to the FDLE for processing.
Our Fee for Sealing or Expunging
Retaining us for the process of record sealing or expunging will relieve you of the stress and uncertainty in trying to manage the application yourself. Our experience in this area will give you confidence that the matter is being handled correctly and avoid unnecessary delay. In order to best serve our clients we manage every step in the application to seal or expunge records from start to finish. Our fee for this service is $595.00. The fee includes costs for a certified copy of the final disposition of the charge. This fee is paid to the Clerk of the Court of the County where the charges were filed and the $75.00 application processing fee which is paid to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) by money order.

We take care of obtaining and completing all the required forms. The only thing you will need to do is get fingerprinted and sign the documents we prepare. By handling all phases of the process we can ensure the necessary paperwork is obtained from the clerk, the applications are correctly completed and sent to the right agencies, motions are properly filed, any required court appearances are scheduled and the process is accomplished quickly with a minimum of aggravation to you.

We accept credit card payments and can get started immediately. We look forward to working with you to put this matter behind you.
Common Misconceptions about Record Sealing
Any record can be sealed. FALSE
The only records that can be sealed are those on which adjudication was withheld by the Judge, which you were acquitted of at trial, or which were dismissed by the prosecutor.

Any record can be expunged. FALSE
The only records that can be expunged are those on which a No Information was filed or the case was dismissed.

Only one case can be sealed. FALSE
Multiple cases can be sealed if they are all directly related to each other. For example, if you are arrested for Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Cocaine at the same time, both cases may be sealed.

Juvenile arrests do not need to be sealed. FALSE
We encourage our clients to seal juvenile arrest records to avoid problems with college applications, Bright Futures applications, FAFSA federal Student Aid and scholarship applications.

Once I turn eighteen years old my juvenile record is destroyed. FALSE
Some juvenile records are required by statute to be maintained until the juvenile turns 26 years of age. Additionally, if a person is arrested before they turn 24 years old, their juvenile record may be used against them unless it has been destroyed. Florida Statute 943.0515.
What about sealing or expunging Juvenile records?
Many people believe that juvenile records are confidential and it is not necessary to seal or expunge a juvenile arrest record. That is not always true and we encourage our clients who have successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program to expunge their juvenile arrest record to avoid problems with college applications, Bright Futures applications, FAFSA federal Student Aid and scholarship applications.

It is important to note however, that an Application to expunge a juvenile record MUST BE SUBMITTED WITHIN SIX (6) MONTHS OF COMPLETION of any diversion program. It is also noteworthy that a juvenile case which has been expunged does not count as a prior expunging if you later have an adult arrest you want to be sealed or expunged.

People also believe that once they turn eighteen years old their juvenile record is destroyed. This is also false. Some juvenile records are required by statute to be maintained until the juvenile turns 26 years of age. Additionally, if a person is arrested before they turn 24 years old, their juvenile record may be used against them unless it has been destroyed. Florida Statute 943.0515.

If the juvenile offense is a felony or if there are multiple misdemeanors, the records are not confidential. By Statute, juvenile records are confidential except:

1. The name, photograph, address and crime or arrest report of a child:
a. taken into custody for a violation of law which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony;
b. found by a court of have committed three or more violations of law which, if committed by an adult, would be misdemeanors;
c. transferred to the adult system under §985.557, indicated under §985.56, or waived under §985.556;
d. taken into custody...for a violation of law subject to §985.557(2)(b) or (d); or
e. transferred to the adult system but sentenced to the juvenile system under §985.565 shall not be considered confidential and exempt.

2. A law enforcement agency may release a copy of the offense report to the victim of the offense. However, information gained by the victim under this chapter, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, regarding any case handled in juvenile court, must not be revealed to any outside party, except as is reasonably necessary in pursuit of legal remedies.

3. (a) Records maintained by the department, including copies of records maintained by the court, which pertain to a child found to have committed a delinquent act which, if committed by an adult, would be a crime specified in §§435.03 and 435.04 may not be destroyed under this section for a period of 25 years after the youth's final referral to the department, except in cases of the death of the child. Such records, however, shall be sealed by the court for use only in meeting the screening requirements for personnel in §402.3055 and the other sections cited above, or under departmental rule; however, current criminal history information must be obtained from the Department of Law Enforcement in accordance with §943.053. The information shall be released to those persons specified in the above cited sections for the purposes of complying with those sections. The court may punish by contempt any person who releases or uses the records for any unauthorized purpose.
(b) Sexual offender and predator registration information as required in §§775.21, 943.0435, 944.606, 944.607, 985.481, and 985.4815 is a public record pursuant to §119.07(1) and as otherwise provided by law.

4. (a) Records in the custody of the department regarding children are not open to inspection by the public. Such records may be inspected only upon order of the Secretary of Juvenile Justice or his or her authorized agent by persons who have sufficient reason and upon such conditions for their use and disposition as the secretary or his or her authorized agent deems proper. The information in such records may be disclosed only to other employees of the department who have a need therefore in order to perform their official duties; to other persons as authorized by rule of the department; and, upon request, to the Department of Corrections. The secretary or his or her authorized agent may permit properly qualified persons to inspect and make abstracts from records for statistical purposes under whatever conditions upon their use and disposition the secretary or his or her authorized agent deems proper, provided adequate assurances are given that children's names and other identifying information will not be disclosed by the applicant.
(b) The destruction of records pertaining to children committed to or supervised by the department pursuant to a court order, which records are retained until a child reaches the age of 24 years or until a serious or habitual delinquent child reaches the age of 26 years, shall be subject to chapter 943.

In all other cases, the records may be disclosed, but only to the following entities, or upon Order of the Court:

· Authorized personnel of the Court
· The Department and its designees
· The Department of Corrections
· The Parole Commission
· Law Enforcement Agents
· School Superintendents and their designees
· Any licensed professional or licensed community agency representative participating in the assessment or treatment of a juvenile