How To Get A Felony Expunged In Florida

David Weisselberger | February 15, 2024

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Expungement of a criminal record is a crucial legal process that many individuals seek, especially in Florida, to ensure their past mistakes don't hinder their future opportunities. This guide will delve into the intricate process on  how to get a felony expunged in Florida, shedding light on the steps involved and the nuances of the state's expungement laws.

Knowing how to navigate this process can impact one's life, providing a fresh start and renewed opportunities. Let's explore how individuals can pursue felony expungement and clear their felony records in Florida.

What Is Expungement, and Why Do People Do It?

Expungement is a legal process in which a court erases a person's criminal record from public view, making it invisible during background checks. It involves the removal of past offenses, providing a fresh start and the opportunity to rebuild and refresh one's life without the mark of a criminal record.

What Is Expungement

People seek felony expungement for various reasons:

  • Employment Opportunities: A clean record enhances job prospects and opens doors to employment opportunities that may be unavailable due to past convictions.
  • Housing Access: Expungement improves eligibility for housing, as landlords often conduct background checks before renting properties.
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions require clean records, and expungement facilitates the acquisition of professional licenses.
  • Education: Expungement enables access to educational opportunities, including scholarships and enrollment in academic programs with strict background check requirements.
  • Personal Well-being: Removing the burden of a criminal record improves mental health and self-esteem, allowing individuals to move forward positively.
  • Legal Rights Restoration: Expungement restores certain civil rights, such as voting rights, which may be revoked due to criminal convictions.

Suggested Article: 5 Degrees of Felonies in Florida 

Florida Expungement Requirements

So, how can you get a felony off your record? To be eligible for expunging a felony criminal record in Florida, certain criteria must be met:

florida expungement requirement
  • No Charges Filed or Case Dismissal: The case must not have resulted in charges being filed, or if charges were filed, the case must have been dismissed through actions such as nolle pros, dropped charges, Pretrial Diversion (PTD), or Pretrial Intervention (PTI).
  • No Prior Adjudications of Guilt: There should be no prior adjudications of guilt or delinquency for any criminal charge in Florida. Additionally, this criterion extends to charges specified under Florida Statutes, Sections 943.0585 and 943.0584.
  • No Previously Expunged Cases: The individual must not have any previously sealed or expunged cases in Florida.
  • No Ongoing Seal or Expunge Petitions: There should be no pending seal or expunge petitions in any court in Florida.

Also Read: How Long Does A Felony Stay on Your Record in Florida?

How To Get Your Felony Expunged

The expungement of criminal records presents individuals with an invaluable opportunity to pursue their futures unencumbered by the weight of past mistakes. 

In Florida, this process entails a series of crucial steps delineated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Here’s how to get a felony expunged in florida:

how to get your felony expunged

Step 1: Obtaining and Completing the Application

The initial step in the expungement process is obtaining and completing the Application for Certification of Eligibility provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The application, which can be found on the FDLE website, must be notarized and completed thoroughly.

Step 2: Submission to the State Attorney’s Office

Once the application is completed, it must be submitted to the State Attorney’s Office in the county where the individual was charged. Submission can be done either by mail or in person; electronic copies are not accepted. The State Attorney's Office will process the application, a procedure that may take a few weeks.

Step 3: Submission of the completed application to FDLE

Upon completion of the State Attorney's part of the application, it is then submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Ensuring that all required documents are included per the Application’s Checklist and Instructions is crucial. If the application is successful, FDLE will issue a "Certificate of Eligibility."

Step 4: Filing of a “Petition and Affidavit to Expunge”

With the "Certificate of Eligibility" in hand, the individual must proceed to complete a "Petition and Affidavit to Expunge." This petition, specific to the county where the matter occurred, must be filled out accurately and in accordance with legal requirements.

Step 5: Filing the Petition

After completing the petition, the original document and the "Certificate of Eligibility" are filed with the Clerk of the Court in the county where the matter occurred. Copies of these documents must also be submitted to the State Attorney's Office in the respective county.

As you might be interested: How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in Florida?

FAQs about How to Get a Felony Expunged in Florida

How much does expungement cost in Florida?

The expungement cost in Florida varies depending on various factors, including legal fees and court expenses. Consulting with Felony Expungement Lawyers can clarify the total expenses involved and answer “can a felony be expunged?”

What felonies can be expunged in Florida?

Certain felonies, such as non-violent offenses and cases resulting in acquittals or dismissals, may be eligible for expungement in Florida. However, eligibility criteria vary; consulting with legal experts is essential to determine eligibility. You may ask: can you get a felony expunged?

Do expunged records show up on fingerprinting in Florida?

Expunged records generally do not appear on standard background checks or fingerprinting conducted for employment or other purposes. However, certain agencies or law enforcement entities may have access to expunged records under certain circumstances.

How long do you have to wait to expunge a felony in Florida?

The waiting period in expunging a felony in Florida varies depending on the nature of the offense and other factors. Generally, individuals must wait a certain period after completing their sentence and meet other eligibility criteria before pursuing expungement.

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David Weisselberger
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"David Weisselberger is the founder of Erase The Case. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Florida, & also his Juris Doctor from UM School of Law. Afterwards, He has been working as a former Miami-Dade County Assistant Public Defender. Also, as a solo lawyer and former associate at South Florida’s honored Saban & Solomon Law Firm. He has learned firsthand the effects people face from having a public criminal arrest record mark their lives. Therefore, David has always been working hard to help people get rid of haunting crimnal past and have a second chance in life"

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