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Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record in Florida

If you are arrested for a crime in the state of Florida, you automatically have a criminal record—even if you were never actually charged or convicted. This criminal record is public, meaning it is available to any potential employer, landlord, or anyone with access to a computer and the internet. Having a criminal record presents many problems, including difficulties obtaining or keeping a job, renting an apartment or securing a home loan, attending university, and more. What’s more, you are required by law to disclose your criminal record in certain professional situations.

The state of Florida offers two possible processes for those who wish to make their criminal record inaccessible to the public. Sealing your record means that only certain entities, such as law enforcement and the courts, will be able to see your criminal record, rather than the general public. Expunging your record, on the other hand, involves the physical destroying of your record with only one confidential copy being kept, accessible only by court order.

To have your record sealed or expunged, you must meet very specific, strict criteria. To learn more, contact Monroe & King, P.A. for a complimentary case evaluation with our Jacksonville expungement attorneys.

Eligibility for Expungement in Florida

There are slightly fewer criteria to have your record sealed than expunged. You may be eligible for criminal record sealing in Florida if you were not actually convicted of a crime or if adjudication of guilt was withheld in your case (in other words, you were put on probation but not found guilty by the court). Additionally, you cannot have any prior records sealed or expunged, and you cannot have any existing records that related to certain serious offenses, such as homicide, rape, kidnapping, or arson.

In contrast, in order to have your criminal record expunged, you must meet the following criteria:

  • No charges were filed against you; or
  • Your charges were dismissed; or
  • Your criminal record has been sealed for at least 10 years; and
  • You do not have a record related to any of the crimes that are not permitted to be expunged under Florida state law (typically, these are violent and/or serious crimes, although some are offenses that can be sealed).

How the Record Sealing/Expungement Process Works

In order to request that your criminal record be sealed or expunged, you will need to file an application with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This application must include, among other materials and information, a copy of the final disposition in your criminal case. If your application is approved, you will receive a certificate of eligibility. You will then need to petition the court that handled your case to have your record sealed or expunged. You will need to present a copy of the certificate of eligibility to both the prosecutor and the arresting agency.

When petitioning to have your criminal record sealed or expunged, it is important that you properly complete and file all necessary paperwork, applications, and petitions with the proper agencies. Our firm can assist you in this process. Our Jacksonville expungement attorneys are well-versed in the various processes involved and can answer your questions every step of the way. We are available 24/7 to assist you.

Call Monroe & King, P.A. at (904) 474-3115 today to request a complimentary case evaluation.

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