How to Expunge Criminal Records in Florida
If your criminal charge was Dismissed, No Filed, Nol Prosequi, Not Guilty - you should Seal or Expunge that criminal record and arrest. However, you must meet certain requirements to do so:
To Seal a Florida Criminal / Arrest Record
To seal a criminal record in Florida, you must have received a Withhold of Adjudication.
To Expunge a Florida Criminal / Arrest Record
To have a Florida criminal record expunged, you must:
- have your case dismissed, or
- have your record sealed for ten years
And you can only do it once – so if you have more than one crime, in any state, or you’ve sealed other criminal records – you are not eligible.
Crimes that Cannot be Sealed or Expunged
There are also certain crimes that cannot be sealed or expunged:
- DUI (you cannot receive a Withhold of Adjudication if convicted)
- Domestic Battery (unless the case is dismissed completely)
- A whole list of crimes set out in Florida Statute 943.059 and 943.0585 (mostly sex crimes or violent crimes)
This is why it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney at the beginning of your case. Pleading to one of these charges can cause long term consequences. Finding them is as easy as looking up your name in the local Clerk or Sheriff’s system. The records will stay there permanently unless you have them sealed or expunged.
I pulled this right from FDLE website Frequently Asked Questions:
Why do I still have a criminal history record when the charges against me were dropped/dismissed/no action filed/abandoned/ nolle prossed?
Under Florida law, adult criminal history records are public unless sealed or expunged. See Section 943.053(3), F.S., which provides for public access to criminal history records, under specified conditions. The term "criminal history information" is defined, tracking the federal definition, in Section 943.045, F.S. A criminal history record is created when a person is arrested and fingerprinted, and includes the disposition of any charges stemming from that arrest, whether it is an adjudication of guilt or the withholding of adjudication, acquittal, or dismissal of charges before trial, or other disposition.
This means that unless your case is Sealed or Expunged ANYONE can find it - regardless of whether or not it's been dismissed. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN JUVENILE CASES. I continually hear police tell parents "Don't worry - it goes of the record at 18." Untrue.
If your application is rejected for Certificate of Eligibility to Expunge Criminal Record ...
There are also situations where your application to seal or expunge is rejected, but shouldn’t be. Your initial application is first reviewed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). They decide if you qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility based on the Florida Statutes and can reject the application. For example, even if you were not convicted of Domestic Battery because you pled to the reduced charge of Disorderly Conduct, they could reject the application.
Need Help Expunging a Florida Criminal Record? Contact Us
We have successfully sealed and expunged hundreds of cases. We have also appealed and WON a denial of Certificate of Eligibility such as the one above. If you are trying to seal or expunge your record or have been denied a certificate of eligibility from FDLE contact Pawuk & Pawuk today.