Expunge and Seal Florida Criminal History
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A record of arrest will remain on an individual’s criminal history record even after the case is dropped or abandoned by the State Attorney’s office.
Florida law allows a person to expunge his or her criminal history one time in certain circumstances. An order to expunge is a ruling from a judge ordering the State Attorney’s Office, the arresting agency and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to destroy record of the arrest.
This is a very powerful tool to get one’s life back on the right track after beating a criminal charge.
If not eligible to expunge, a defendant may be eligible to seal his or her criminal history. Sealing of a criminal history is appropriate when a defendant is not eligible to expunge, but has not been convicted of a crime. Sealing is commonly used when a defendant takes a case to trial and wins. If a case has been sealed for ten years with no new criminal history, the case can then be expunged.
There are certain circumstances when even a sealed or expunged history must be disclosed. Pursuant to Fla. Stat. §945.0585(4)(a):
The person who is the subject of a criminal history record that is expunged under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s.943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:
1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Families, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly;
6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;
7. Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services; or
8. Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian pursuant to s. 744.3125.
*Typical costs are court filing fees, processing fees paid to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and office costs fronted by the firm.