Expunge or Seal a Florida Criminal Record:
How to Do-It-Yourself
DIY ("Do-It-Yourself") Choices
There are several ways you can do things on your own, to apply to have your
Florida criminal history record sealed or expunged through the
regular seal and expungement process.
Below are a few of your DIY choices on how to seal or expunge your record.
DIY - all on your own.
You can review the information below and on other portions of this website. You can
also do further research of your own. You can obtain and review your Florida
criminal history and driving records, as well as other records, to help you
decide if you want to move forward in the process. You can determine your
eligibility; prepare and submit your state application for a certificate
of eligibility; and, if you obtain a certificate of eligibility, you can prepare
and file your petition for a court order to seal or expunge your record.
DIY: Determining Eligibility On Your Own
You can review the information provided by the Law Firm
on this website to assist you in determining your eligibility to
seal or expunge your Florida record. You can also review
Sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes,
or contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Seal-Expunge
Section, at (850) 410-7870, for information about eligibility to seal or
expunge a Florida criminal history record.
You can request a Personal Review from FDLE, at no cost, before you
apply for a certificate of eligibility. The Personal Review will show you
what is in your Florida criminal history record. It will not show you what
is in your national criminal history record maintained by the FBI. You will be required to
submit your fingerprints to FDLE for the Personal Review and will likely have to wait at
least a week for the response from FDLE. (If you prefer, you can ask the
Law Firm to obtain a Personal Review for you, with
obtain a copy of your Florida criminal history record from FDLE, by mail or online.
There is a fee for this service.
(Request a copy of your Florida record through the Firm.)
You can also request a copy of your Florida driving record
maintained by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,
before applying for a certificate of eligibility, to check for any possible
criminal traffic charges that might make you ineligible to have your record
sealed or expunged. There may be a state fee for the driving record, which
may vary depending on the type of record you request.
(Request a copy of your Florida driving history record through the Firm.)
To review the criminal record you might have at the national level,
you can request a copy of your record maintained at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
(This is one of the records that will be reviewed by the Florida state agency
when you submit your application to have your record sealed or expunged.)
There is a charge for the FBI national record and you must submit your
fingerprints. Receiving your FBI national record may take a few weeks,
depending on whether you request it directly from the FBI or from one of
the FBI's authorized service providers.
TIP: You may decide it is more cost effective for you to submit your
application for a certificate of eligibility to FDLE without obtaining any
preliminary reports; but, remember that the state application fee of $75.00 is nonrefundable.
DIY: Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility On Your Own
You can obtain an application packet from
which will include forms and information about applying to obtain a
certificate of eligibility from FDLE to seal or expunge your Florida criminal
Your court clerk's office
may also be able to provide you with a copy of the FDLE application packet
and other information.
The clerk may charge a fee for the packet.
You will need to follow the instructions provided in the FDLE packet.
For example, if you want to expunge your record, you will have to submit
your application to the appropriate state attorney's office for review and
approval before submitting it to FDLE.
You will need to pay the required state application fee of $75.00, which is nonrefundable, when
you submit your application to FDLE.
After you have submitted your application to FDLE, the agency will
notify you if more information is needed before a determination about
your eligibility can be made. If FDLE determines that you are eligible
to have your record sealed or expunged, the agency will send you a certificate
of eligibility. If FDLE determines that you are not eligible, the agency will
notify you that it has denied your request for a certificate and will tell you the reason(s) for the denial.
If any of the below conditions apply to you, you should discuss your
situation with an attorney who is familiar with the Florida seal and expunge
process and related legal issues before you proceed, to help you avoid
spending time and money obtaining a certificate of eligibility only to
have a court deny your petition for an order to seal or expunge your record
or to vacate an order to seal or expunge - because you did not understand the issues
involved or your options:
- If you have a complicated case, multiple criminal history records,
or criminal records outside of Florida;
- If you have a pending criminal case or a new arrest at any time before
your petition to seal or expunge is filed or heard by the court; and/or
If the record you want to seal or expunge is related to "domestic violence"
issues, a crime against a child, or a sexual or violent crime - regardless of
the disposition of the case.
DIY: Obtaining an Order to Seal or Expunge On Your Own
If you obtain a certificate of eligibility from FDLE, it is only valid
for a limited time (one year), so you will need to take prompt action to obtain a
court order to seal or expunge your record.
You will need to prepare and
file a petition, with all necessary, additional documentation, to request
an order to seal or expunge from the appropriate court.
If you obtained the packet from a clerk's office mentioned above, it
may contain some information about filing your petition. Personnel in
the clerk's office in the county where you must file your petition may be
able to provide you with some information about the process; however,
they will not be able to give you legal advice or prepare your petition
for you. Sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes,
also provide requirements for your petition, along with other related
TIP: If you owe any court fees, penalties, fines, etc., you may not
be able to file your petition or obtain a court order to seal or expunge
your record until you have paid or otherwise resolved what you owe.
You should already be aware of any amount due; but, you can check
with the Clerk's Office to find out or confirm.
DIY - for part of the process.
You can decide to handle only a part of the process yourself and ask
for help from the Holmes Law Firm for another part, depending on your
circumstances, the requirements for the process, and the applicable service.
You might want to ask the Firm for a review of your eligibility
(Service 1) and then decide how you want to proceed.
You might choose to apply for a certificate of eligibility from the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) all on your own or get some
"Do-It-Yourself" help from the Firm's DIY service and kit.
If you apply to FDLE and the agency tells you that you are not eligible
to have your record sealed or expunged, or the agency tells you that more
information is required before a determination about your eligibility can be made,
you could ask the Firm to review your application packet and the response from FDLE.
If you obtain a certificate or eligibility from FDLE, you could then ask the
Firm to prepare your petition for an order to seal or expunge your record and,
later, to confirm that FDLE has sealed or expunged your record in its
Florida criminal history database.