What if every charge against me was dropped by the prosecutor or
dismissed by the court?
If every charge in your record was dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed
by the court before trial, - Good News! - you may be eligible to have your
related Florida record expunged, instead of only sealed -
IF you meet all the other eligibility criteria.
Review more about eligibility with the
Fast 5 and
Request an Eligibility Review
from the attorney for the Holmes Law Firm.
How long will the entire seal process take?
Short Answer: Most likely at least 4-6 months,
for the regular process - from review by the Law Firm to the sealing
of your record by FDLE, if there are no issues, objections, or delays.
The length of time is primarily based on the following:
- the workload of the state agency that will process your application
for a certificate of eligibility; (the processing time has generally been
at least 2-3 months, if there are no issues with an application or the
records of the applicant);
- the workload of the clerk's office and court that will review and
process your petition for an order to seal; and
- the workload of the entities that will seal your record.
The Law Firm will handle its part of the process expeditiously and will
provide you with the status of your case.
Is it true that I can only use the seal process once?
You can only have the charges for one Florida criminal history
record sealed or expunged using the regular
seal or expungement process in Section 943.0585 or 943.059, Florida Statutes.
Under current law, once you use the regular
process to either seal or expunge a record, you will not be able to seal or
expunge a different Florida criminal history record using
the regular process.
One exception to this one-record-limit is if a court finds that one or more arrests are
directly related. The court can order the related arrests sealed or expunged, if the person
and records are otherwise eligible. This seldom happens.
If you have a Florida criminal history record expunged through a
different process, for example, through
juvenile diversion expungement
or administrative expungement,
you may be able to use the regular seal or
expunge process to seal or expunge another Florida record,
if you are eligible.
If you already had a record sealed or expunged in another
jurisdiction, you will
not be able to use the Florida process to seal or expunge any Florida
criminal history record.
Other states have similar restrictions, prohibiting
the sealing or expunging of more than one criminal record.
If you have one or more criminal records in other states,
in addition to your Florida record, you should carefully consider
your options before sealing or expunging any of your records -
in any state. It is likely that you will have only one opportunity
to seal or expunge.
The "seal or expunge once" restriction does not prohibit you
from applying for a certificate of eligibility more than once, if you were
not successful in obtaining a court order to seal or expunge any of your
records previously. You will have to pay the state application fee
with each application.
If you had a Florida record sealed for ten years, due to certain
requirements in Florida law, and you now want to have that record expunged
using the regular expunge process, the Florida "seal or expunge once"
restriction does not apply to you. If you are eligible to expunge under current law,
you can apply to have that record expunged.
If you have questions about an application for a certificate of
eligibility you submitted which was denied by FDLE because
the agency determined that you are not eligible, promptly consult
with an attorney before you decide that you have no options.