Expunge or Seal A Florida Criminal Record:
Are You Eligible? Do You Qualify?
Eligibility for the Regular Expungement or Seal Process
Being "eligible" or "qualified" for expungement or sealing refers to
whether you meet the requirements in Florida law for the seal and expungement
process used most often with nonjudicial Florida
criminal history records.
The requirements are found in Sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes.
The Holmes Law Firm refers to this as the
"regular seal or expungement process", to distinguish it from other processes
used less often to seal or expunge Florida records, such as
juvenile diversion expungement and
Help from the Holmes Law Firm to Review Your Eligibility
The Holmes Law Firm offers several ways to help you determine if you are eligible to seal or expunge your Florida criminal
history record using the regular seal or expungement process.
The Law Firm offers an
Eligibility Review service
which includes a review by the Firm's attorney of information
and records that you provide and/or that you request the Law Firm to obtain for you,
and a review of your eligibility to seal or expunge your
Florida record using the regular process.
FREE ONLINE HELP
DIY ("Do-It-Yourself") SERVICE
The Law Firm offers a DIY seal and expunge service
which includes a FREE Online Prescreening and a DIY kit with information and forms related to
determining your eligibility, applying for a certificate of eligibility, filing a petition for an order
to seal or expunge a Florida criminal record,
and confirming that your record at FDLE has been sealed or expunged. The DIY service also
includes a consultation with the Firm's attorney about the use of the DIY information.
Read more about the DIY kit.
Request the DIY Kit with a FREE Online Prescreening.
State Agency Review of Your Eligibility
Florida law requires that you must obtain a "certificate of eligibility"
to seal or expunge your Florida criminal history record, from a state agency (FDLE), before
you petition a court for an order to seal or expunge your record. You must complete and
submit an FDLE Application for Certification of Eligibility, along with your fingerprints,
certified copies of required documents, and a state application fee. FDLE will review your
application and your Florida and national criminal history records, your Florida driving record
(to review any criminal traffic charges that do not appear in your criminal history record), records
in local court databases, and other information, to determine if you are
eligible, under the applicable Florida statutes, to have your Florida record sealed or expunged.
Eligibility Factors - why FDLE can deny your application
The information quoted below is provided by FDLE on its website, to help
people understand the reasons why the agency will deny a person's application
for a certificate of eligibility to seal or expunge a Florida criminal history
record. The information is based on the requirements and restrictions for the regular seal and expungement process in Florida law - Sections 943.0585 and 943.059,
FDLE will deny your application for a certificate of eligibility in the
below circumstances because, if the factors apply to you and your overall
criminal history record, you will not be eligible to seal or expunge your
Florida criminal history record.
If you already reviewed and "passed" the
"Fast 5" eligibility checklist,
you should review additional eligibility factors below, in paragraphs #4 and #7,
and in the section, "Some additional requirements for expungement".
FDLE cannot issue a certificate of eligibility to seal or expunge a Florida
criminal history record under any of the following circumstances:
"1. The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated
guilty [as an adult] of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation or adjudicated
delinquent [as a juvenile] for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in
s. 943.051(3)b. Certain driving violations are classified as criminal,
such as DUI, reckless driving, and (with some exceptions) driving while
license is suspended/canceled/revoked..."
Review a list of the misdemeanors from the above paragraph
related to adjudication of delinquency under the section below titled, "Other Charges That Will
Prevent You From Sealing or Expunging Any Florida Record IF..."
"...2. The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated
guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing one or more of the acts
stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application
3. The criminal history record reflects that you have received a prior
sealing or expungement of a criminal history record under s. 943.0585,
s. 943.059, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, former s. 943.058, or
from any jurisdiction outside the state.
4. The criminal history record to which the application [for a certificate
of eligibility] pertains relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593,
s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034,
s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135,
s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075 a violation enumerated in
s. 907.041, or a violation of any offense qualifying for registration
as a sexual predator under s. 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender
under s. 943.0435, F.S., with a finding of guilt, or a plea or guilty or nolo
contendere (without regard to whether adjudication was withheld)..."
to print a list of the individual charges in the above paragraph.
"...5. The criminal history record reflects that you have another petition
to seal or expunge pending before a court or competent jurisdiction.
6. The criminal history record reflects that the court supervision
applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity
to which the application pertains has not been completed.
7.[For expungement only] The criminal history
record reflects that some or all of the charges related to the arrest or
criminal activity to which the application pertains were not dismissed
prior to trial, adjudication, or the withholding of adjudication. If no other
disqualification applies, the record would be eligible to be sealed.
PLEASE NOTE: The Governor and Cabinet of Florida, acting in the capacity
of the Board of Executive Clemency, declared on June 10, 1999, that the
granting of a full pardon does not remove any condition of ineligibility
for sealing or expunging a criminal history record which would otherwise
be imposed by a conviction or withholding of adjudication pursuant to
Sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes, and, acting in the
capacity of agency head of the Department of Law Enforcement, the Board
directed FDLE to deny a Certificate of Eligibility to any person receiving
a pardon who is otherwise ineligible for the sealing or expunging of the
person's criminal history record."
Some additional requirements for expungement
In addition to the above circumstances, if you want to expunge
your Florida record, FDLE will not be able to issue you a certificate of
eligibility to expunge your record if you did not first obtain a review
of your application and eligibility by the appropriate State Attorney's Office or
Statewide Prosecutor's Office.
Florida law requires the State Attorney/Statewide Prosecutor's (SAO)
office to provide a certification about certain information related to
your eligibility to expunge your record. This certification is included
as part of the state application. (This certification is not required if
you only want to seal your record.) Some factors only for expungement
eligibility relate to the final disposition of the charges:
a) an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or
issued in the criminal case related to the record you want to expunge;
or b) an indictment, information or other charging document, if filed or
issued in the case related to the record you want to expunge, was dismissed
or nolle prosequi by the state attorney/statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed
by a court of competent jurisdiction; or c) none of the charges related to the
criminal history record you want to expunge resulted in an adjudication
of guilt or delinquency and the record has been sealed for ten years.
TIP: If any of the charges related to the record you want to expunge
has a final disposition of "guilty" or "adjudication withheld", you will
not be eligible to expunge the record. However, if the final disposition of
every charge related to the record you want to expunge
was "dismissed", "nolle prossed", or "no file/no info/no indictment", and
you have met all the other eligibility requirements, this should help you
clear a big hurdle on your way to expungement of your record!
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 - even if you are eligible
under the statute and obtain a certificate of eligibility from FDLE.
The Holmes Law Firm can help you work through the maze of these
eligibility factors as well as several other seal and expunge issues
that might impact your decision to apply to have your Florida criminal
history record sealed or expunged.
Check out the "Fast 5" eligibility factors
for a quick start in finding out if you are eligible.
request an Eligibility Review.
Review Juvenile Diversion Expungement
if the record you want to
seal or expunge is a juvenile record and you participated in a prearrest
or postarrest diversion program. You may be eligible to use that process, instead.
There are several advantages to that process.
Request a review of your eligibility for Juvenile Diversion Expungement.