A conviction will stay on your record for the rest of your life. The mere arrest for a charge can have a negative impact on your life, even if you were found not guilty or even if the charge was dismissed. Background checks usually only list that you were arrested for a charge and not that the case was dismissed. Avoid a negative background check by having your arrest sealed or expunged. In most cases, even a probation sentence can be sealed or expunged.
Expungement & Sealing Attorney
If you have been arrested and you are seeking to have your record sealed or expunged, hire a lawyer to remove charges from your record. I have been sealing and expunging cases for our clients for 13 years.
Contact me today at 850-439-0999. I help people in in Okaloosa County and Walton County, Florida.
Sealing or Expunging Criminal Records in Florida
First, an application to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) must be made. After an application has been submitted, the FLDE will determine if the person is eligibile.
If one is determined to be eligible to have the arrest sealed or expunged, he or she will receive a certificate of eligibility. Once the certificate of eligibility is received, a petition to to seal or expunge can be filed.
Requirements of a Record Sealing or Expunction Petition
The petition must include a certificate of eligibility, a sworn statement saying the person has not previously had an arrest rsealed or expunged, a sworn statement saying the person is eligible, and a sworn statement that says the person has never been found guilty of any offense listed under Florida Stat. § 943.059.
The expungement process is a complicated, legal one. A criminal defense lawyer should help you with this process.
Am I Eligible to Have My Record Sealed or Expunged?
In Florida, only certain people will be deemed eligible to have their record sealed or expunged. You must:
- Not have previously sealed or expunged a criminal record
- Not have been declared delinquent or adjudicated delinquent for certain juvenile charges (listed under Fla. Stat. § 943.059)
- Not be currently in a court ordered diversion or supervision program
- Not have been convicted of any crime in any jurisdiction, including misdemeanor offenses.
Additionally, if a person has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit certain offenses, they will automatically be ruled ineligible to have their record sealed or expunged. Some of these offenses include:
- Aggravated assault/battery
- Sexual assault/battery
- Sexual acts against a child
- Lewdness in the presence of a child
- Drug trafficking
- Home invasion
- Human trafficking
- Domestic violence
Driving Offenses and Expungement
As part of the expungement or record sealing process, the FDLE will run a background through the Florida Crime Information Center, the National Crime Information Center, databases of local courts and the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The FDLE runs the DHSMV search because some driving offenses will not show up in other databases.
Some people have questions about whether driving offenses will keep them from getting a clean record. Whether or not these hurt your chances depend on whether the prior conviction was a criminal offense or a non-criminal violation.
Criminal driving infractions can keep you from getting your records expunged or sealed. These include:
- Driving While License Suspended
- Reckless Driving
- Fleeing or Eluding a Police Officer
- Racing on Highway
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Benefits of Having Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged
With your criminal record sealed, law enforcement agencies will not be able to disclose information pertaining to the arrest to anyone, such as employers or school admission officers.
If you have your record expunged, any records of the arrest or conviction will be completely removed. You do not have to “tell” anyone about the offense. It will be cleared from your record. This will give you a fresh start.
Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Records
Being arrested as a juvenile certainly can have a negative impact on one’s future. Most juvenile records may be expunged or sealed under certain circumstances.
If your child was placed in a diversion program, he or she may qualify for expungement or sealing. A juvenile can also get records for an arrest for simple assault or battery expunged with a letter from the state attorney.
If more than a year passes after completing the program, your child will have to wait until he or she is 18 years of age before seeking record sealing or expungement.
If you are an adult seeking to expunge or seal records from a juvenile arrest, Robert A. Dees, PA can also help with that.
Resources for Sealing or Expunging Records in Florida
Expungement Requirements: This is a link to section 943.0585 of the Florida Statutes. This statute explains the necessary requirements for individual who are seeking to have their criminal records expunged.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement: This website lays out the process for getting your record sealed or expunged in Florida. It provides the required documents necessary to apply for a sealing or expunging of a criminal record, as well as an application checklist, among other useful information. The office can be located at
2331 Phillips Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Phone: (850) 410-7000