Expungement / Sealing Process in Florida:
What Records Will Be Reviewed?
The state agency that will review your
application to have your Florida record sealed or expunged (the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement - FDLE), in the
regular seal or expungement process,
will review the following records, to determine if you are eligible
under Florida law to seal or expunge your Florida record:
- your Florida criminal history record;
- your national criminal history record;
- your Florida driving history record;
- court records that relate to you; and
- other records, as necessary.
The State Attorney's Office may also review the
above records, if you apply to expunge your record.
You can order a copy of your Florida criminal history record
and order a copy of your Florida driving history record.
Why is my record in another state important if I only want to seal
or expunge my record in Florida?
One thing which makes many people ineligible to seal or expunge their records is
an adjudication of guilt for a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation
- inside or outside of Florida, including criminal traffic violations.
This would include, as an example, an adjudication of guilt you might have
received 20+ years ago in another state, for a traffic offense or a "minor" city or county
ordinance violation which you might remember as having involved only a very quick
court appearance and a "simple" resolution (such as payment of a minimal fine) -
but which was an offense the other state law classified as "criminal". If you were
adjudicated guilty for this type of criminal offense, you would not be eligible
under Florida statutory requirements to seal or expunge any nonjudicial Florida criminal
Why is my driving record reviewed if I want to seal or expunge
a criminal arrest record?
Any conviction (adjudication of guilt), for any crime, even a criminal
traffic charge, will make you ineligible to have any Florida criminal
history record sealed or expunged under the regular seal or expunge
Not all criminal traffic charges and dispositions get transferred to
or otherwise entered into your overall Florida criminal history record
maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Sometimes,
they only appear in your driving history record with the
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). So, your
records with both agencies, FDLE and DHSMV, are reviewed to determine
your eligibility to seal or expunge your criminal arrest record.
If you consult with an attorney
for a review of your eligibility to seal or expunge your Florida record,
you should provide as much information as you can about your records and your
history with the court system(s) inside and outside of Florida. Otherwise, you
may find that you make it through part of the process only to be denied a
certificate of eligibility or a court order, or to have a court order you obtained
vacated, due to the discovery of additional information which makes you ineligible
to have your Florida record sealed or expunged - information that you mistakenly
thought was too old, insignificant, irrelevant, or unavailable.