Record Sealing & Expungements in Florida

David Weisselberger | November 5, 2023

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Are you burdened by a public criminal record in Florida and seeking a new start? Sealing or expunging it may be the solution you are looking for. 

In Florida, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) plays a vital role in managing criminal records. Individuals with criminal records can clear these through expungement or  record sealing. 

Doing so can greatly help improve your  chances of finding employment, housing, or obtaining loans to name a few examples. Although the processes can be complex and burdensome, expunging or sealing a record can  offer a fresh beginning and the opportunity for a better future.

In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about sealing and expunging records in Florida.

Expungements in Florida

expungments in florida

Expungement of criminal records in Florida is a legal process that allows individuals to have specific arrests or non-convictions removed from their records. This process is invaluable for those who want to clear their slate and open doors to new, better opportunities.

Eligiblity Requirements

Here is a quick  overview of the eligibility requirements for expunging a criminal record in Florida:

  • No charges were filed or the case was subjected to a nolle pros or any other variation of the case being dismissed (I.E., dropped, PTD, PTI, etc).
  • No prior adjudications of guilt or delinquency adjudications for any criminal charge in Florida, or for any charges as outlined under Florida Statutes, Sections 943.0585, 943.0584 .
  • No previously  sealed or expunged cases in Florida.
  • No ongoing seal or expunge petitions in any court in Florida.

Check Your Eligibility Before Expungement

Only 2 mins using our form to know if you are qualified

Record Sealing in Florida

Record sealing is an alternative option for individuals with a criminal history in Florida.  Similar to an expungement, a record sealing restricts access to your criminal record, making it confidential  to the public and potential employers.

record sealing in florida

Florida Record Sealing Requirements

Understanding the prerequisites to seal a criminal record is crucial. We've outlined the eligibility criteria to ensure your record sealing application succeeds as follow:

  • No previous convictions for crimes or similar violations, including juvenile cases related to offenses listed in Florida Statutes Sections 943.059, 943.0584 .
  • No prior convictions or adjudications for any  previous case, including the one subject to being sealed.
  • No previous sealing or expunction of criminal records in Florida.
  • No pending requests to seal or expunge records in any court in Florida.
  • The charge the applicant pled to isn't a "disqualifying" offense as set forth under Sections 943.059, 943.0584.
  • If placed on court supervision, community control or probation, it must be completed, and all court supervision must end prior to beginning the record sealing process.

Check If You Are Qualified Now!

Expungement vs. Sealing

Expungement completely destroys the records, erasing them from public view, while sealing restricts access but retains them ‘under seal” by order of the court . 

Expungement and sealing both provide privacy, but under certain ‘legitimate criminal justice purposes’ law enforcement can gain access to sealed records, making a choice between the two significant for individuals with criminal histories that qualify for both remedies. 

While these are not all the differences and similarities, it is worthy of noting that record sealing provides the same legal benefits as an expungement insofar as the record’s confidentiality and being erased from public view!

See more: Differences between sealing and expungement in Florida

How To Expunge or Seal Your Records in Florida

how to expunge criminal records

Unlocking a new beginning with Erase the Case in Florida is easier than you think. Whether seeking a fresh start or a better future, understanding these procedures is your first key to success.

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

The first crucial step in how to get your record expunged is determining if you meet the eligibility criteria for expungement or sealing in Florida. Click here to find out if you qualify for expungement or record sealing with our free, 100% accurate and automated eligibility test in only 2 minutes. 

Step 2: Collect the Necessary Documents and Information

Once eligibility is established, gather all necessary documents and information for the expungement application process. This typically includes court records, arrest records, probation records if applicable, and personal identification.

Step 3: Complete FDLE Application

With the required documentation, Download the application for expungement or sealing as per Florida's legal requirement, and notarize the FDLE application for Certification of Eligibility to Expunge or Seal your case(s). 

If you are from Pinellas County, access the forms here.

If you Hire Erase the Case to expunge or seal your record, we provide all the documents needed.

Step 4: Submit to the State Attorney's Office

Send your application to your appropriate county's State Attorney's Office by mail or in person and await their review for ‘Section B’ completion.

Step 5: Forward to FDLE

Submit a fully compliant FDLE Application packet to the FDLE, including  the required documents with your application. If approved, FDLE will issue a "Certificate of Eligibility."  If denied, FDLE will issue a ‘denial letter.’ If more information is needed, FDLE will mail correspondence reflecting the same.

Because the FDLE can reject an FDLE Application to expunge or seal a record for a myriad of reasons, we strongly encourage you to be represented by counsel before an application is submitted given appeal deadlines can complicate the process to the point of losing out on your one-time shot on goal for your expungement or sealing matter.

Step 6: Prepare "Petition and Affidavit"

Complete  a legally compliant "Petition and Affidavit to Expunge or Seal" using your FDLE Certificate of Eligibility.

Step 7: File the Petition

Submit the original petition, affidavit and  FDLE Certificate of Eligibility to the appropriate County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court where the case was processed.

Send copies of the filings to the appropriate State Attorney's Office and arresting agency according to the guidelines set forth under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.692.

Step 8: State Attorney's Response

Depending on the case, the State Attorney's Office may issue a response which could involve an objection that will require a ‘contested’ court hearing. Should that happen, you should without doubt hire a knowledgeable expungement lawyer. 

If no objections arise, the Clerk typically forwards the documents to the court, typically resulting in a signed Order Sealing or Expunging the Record within weeks, or a hearing may have to be scheduled, depending on the judge. 

Step 9: Processing of Expungement/Sealing Court Order

With 67 different, independent Florida Counties and thus Clerks of Courts, once a petition to expunge/seal is granted and the order signed, you will still be responsible for contacting the Clerk’s Office to make sure the fees and costs have been paid in order to obtain certified copies and erase the case from public view.

How Long Does Expungement Take in Florida?

The usual expungement process in Florida takes an average of five to seven months , while for others, it can extend over a year. Delays can occur due to varying factors, so patience is essential.

An average expungement in Florida takes 5-7 months

But, by choosing our services,  Erase the Case has a proven track record  to complete the process in only three to five months from beginning to end, with an average of 90 days total!

We Can Do It In 3 Months!

Over 85% of our cases are expunged under 5 months (data proven)

How Much Does Expungement Cost in Florida?

The expungement cost in Florida can range from $270 all the way up to $2,500 or more, depending on the complexity of your case. Whether you go through the process on your own and pay only government related costs, or whether you hire the right lawyer, will make a world of difference in time, experience, success, and thoroughness of your expungement

If you hire a lawyer, most lawyers will charge between $749-$2,500 only in legal fees, after which they will charge additional money for costs associated with the expungement process. 

However, Erase the Case offers you an affordable, one time flat fee of just $995 that includes everything, including the most complete and fastest process in the State of Florida, all while delivering top-notch quality service, peace of mind, and constant case updates. But don’t take our word for it, check out our boasting excellent verified customer reviews on Shopper Approved and Google Reviews.

Why Should You Hire Us To Expunge Records in Florida?

Discover the power of expunging and sealing your criminal record with our expert services. We navigate the complex legal process to clear your record and regain control of your life by doing all of the work on your behalf, from beginning to end, while providing you with case updates at every turn.

Here are the top reasons why you should hire us:

  • Reasonable Price & No Hidden Costs or Fees
  • Expunge Now, Pay Later™ payment plan options
  • 99.7% Successful Record
  • 250+ Five Star Reviews
  • Cases expunged in 3-5 months, averaging 90 days!
  • Sealing in 2-3 Months, averaging under 60 days!
  • Only Florida Expungement Firm - true experts!
  • Instant case updates at every step of the way
  • Direct lawyer to client communication
  • The most complete expungement experience in Florida

Don't let your criminal record continue to impact your future. Initiate the first step towards a clean slate. Contact us today and talk with our expungement attorneys to learn more about our sealing and expunging services in Florida.

FAQ

How do I get my record expunged in Florida?

We'll walk you through the steps to initiate the expungement process, from determining eligibility to applying to erasing the case from public view, as  explained  above. 

What crimes can be expunged in Florida?

Any criminal charge from A-Z can be expunged as long as you meet the statutory legal requirements. Typically, only cases with non-conviction dispositions, such as dismissals, acquittals, or specific juvenile offenses and misdemeanors, can be expunged in Florida.  

Who is eligible for expungement in Florida?

Individuals with criminal records in Florida that ended in non-conviction dispositions and have met the waiting period requirements are generally eligible. Find out if you qualify here.

What is the benefit of expungement in Florida?

Explore the advantages of expunging your criminal record, including improved job prospects, better wages, and a second chance in life without being haunted by your criminal past again.

How many expungements are you allowed in Florida?

In Florida, you're generally allowed only one expungement in your lifetime, however, Erase the Case is proud to boast the most cases sealed under a single petition totalling a whopping 16 cases in a single petition. Maybe a National record? We think so.

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We have provided more expungements than any other law firm in the state of Florida, but don't just take our word for it.  
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  • google logogoogle reviews stars
    "My experience with this law firm was exceptional. After submitting the required documents, they took care of everything with ease, professionalism, and expediency. I was kept informed throughout the process. In only 3 months, all record of my case was erased from my background check. I used the "expunge now, pay later" option, which let me pay the fee over time with Affirm."
    Lee County
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    "I'm beyond happy right now, I contacted David about my case few months ago and right away he was able to help me , the whole process was very easy they kept me updated every step now my case is sealed.very professional I recommend this firm, if I can give more than 5 stars I would. "
    Miami-Dade County
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    "I would recommend anyone that has a background to use Erase the Case Services. David is a great lawyer answers all of your questions keeps you updated during the process. The staff there are excellent people very professional. The process doesn't even take long!"
    Broward County
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    "After having doubts about Erase the case the expungement law firm, David and his team gave me the piece of mind I've been searching for after successfully expunging my case... I 100% recommend Erase the case to anybody in need of help. Again, thanks David for everything."
    Orange County
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    "It was such a clear and straightforward experience all the way through, I'm grateful and thankful that I found their services! Companies like this give hope to those that have had hardships in life a chance to a better future. Erase the Case did an amazing job, they stand on behalf of those looking to change their lives for good! Thank you."
    Hillsborough County
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    "David is extremely professional and knowledgable in his craft. He and his team will ensure you receive excellent legal care and advice. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for representation that you can trust and at reasonable retainers. Do not hesitate to reach out. Thanks David"
    Palm Beach County
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    "Erase the case has been a pleasure to work with. Attorneys are respectful of your situation and provide realistic honest expectations. They are very responsive and there if you need to contact them. It's great to be able to speak directly with the attorney regarding any issue."
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    "Great communication and keeping me updated with the process. He handled everything so professionally and kept in the loop at all times. I highly recommend EraseTheCase! Thank you so much for your assistance with my case."
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    "David made the process simple and thoroughly explained everything. He made himself available to answer questions and was timely in responding to emails. He is very knowledgeable In this area and I would recommend him to anyone looking to complete this process."
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