Sealing or Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Florida

In Florida, you may qualify to have your criminal record sealed or expunged under some circumstances. If your record is sealed, the public (including private employers) cannot view it, but most government agencies will still have access to it. If your criminal record is expunged, not even a government agency can see it without a court order.

If your records are sealed or expunged, you are not required in many cases to disclose the arrest.

(Florida Statutes § 943.0585 and 943.059.)

Sealing or Expungement If You Were Not Convicted of a Crime

If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime, your criminal record may be eligible for sealing or expungement. To qualify, you must not have had a criminal record sealed or expunged in the past (even in another state), nor may you have a pending petition to seal or expunge a criminal record. You can find a complete list of requirements and exceptions in the Expunge/Seal Package available from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. You can also learn more by reading Florida Statutes § 943.0585.

Florida also offers expungement of arrest records for those who have been arrested “contrary to law or by mistake.” (Florida Statutes § 943.0581.)

Sealing or Expungement If You Were Convicted of a Crime

If you were found guilty -- or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere -- there is an extensive list of crimes that are not eligible for expungement or sealing under Florida law. For example, you cannot have your record expunged or sealed if you have been found guilty of any felony or of driving under the influence. You can find more information, along with the complete list of disqualified offenses, in the Expunge/Seal Package available from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. You can also learn more by reading Florida Statutes § 943.0585 and § 943.059.

How to File for Expungement

To file for expungement, you must first obtain a certificate of eligibility. You can find forms and instructions in the Expunge/Seal Package available from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Getting Legal Help

The rules for cleaning up a criminal record in Florida are very complicated. To learn more about expunging criminal records in Florida -- and to discuss your personal circumstances -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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