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Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record in Florida

WHAT IS A CRIMINAL HISTORY AND IS IT OPEN TO THE PUBLC

Florida law makes adult criminal history records public, with special provisions for access, unless the record has been sealed or expunged. A sealed record is placed under highly restricted access.  An expunged record is removed from record systems or files and destroyed (also called expunction). The law currently provides several means to seal or expunge certain categories of Florida criminal history records (both adult and juvenile). The records may include arrests, charges and case dispositions. (FDLE)

Seal/Expungement Application Click Here

HOW DO I HAVE MY RECORD SEALED

Florida law makes adult criminal history records public, with special provisions for access, unless the record has been sealed or expunged. A sealed record is placed under highly restricted access.  An expunged record is removed from record systems or files and destroyed (also called expunction). The law currently provides several means to seal or expunge certain categories of Florida criminal history records (both adult and juvenile). The records may include arrests, charges and case dispositions. 

Court-Ordered Sealing or Expungement - a person may apply to Florida Department of Law-Enforcement (FDLE) for a Certificate of Eligibility to Seal or Expunge his or her criminal history record. This is a required first step-toward obtaining the court-ordered sealing or expungement of that record. Before issuing a certificate of eligibility, FDLE determines if the applicant is statutorily eligible to petition the court to have his or her Florida criminal history record sealed or expunged. 

WHICH CRIMES MAY NOT BE SEALED

An application for a Certificate of Eligibility to expunge or seal a criminal history record will be denied 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 that you as a juvenile have adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the following:

Assault; Battery; Carrying a concealed weapon; Unlawful use of destructive devices or bombs; Neglect of a child; Assault or battery on a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or other specified officers; Open carrying of a weapon; Exposure of sexual organs; Unlawful possession of a firearm; Petit theft; Cruelty to animals; Arson; Unlawful possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property.

Certain driving violations are classified as criminal, such as DUI, reckless driving, and (with some exceptions) driving while license is suspended/canceled/revoked.

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 pertains.

3. The criminal history record reflects that you have received a prior sealing or expungement of a criminal history record under Section 943.0585Section 943.059, former Section 893.14, former Section 901.33 or former Section 943.058. NOTE:  A sealing or expungement obtained under any other parts of the law, not listed here, will not count as a “prior” order.

4. The criminal history record to which the application pertains relates to a violation of Section 393.135Section 394.4593Section 787.025chapter 794,  Section 796.03,  Section 800.04Section 810.14Section 817.034Section 825.1025Section 827.071chapter 839Section 847.0133Section 847.0135Section 847.0145Section 893.135Section 916.1075 a violation enumerated in Section 907.041, or a violation of any offense qualifying for registration as a sexual predator under Section 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under Section 943.0435, F.S., with a finding of guilt (or delinquency), or a plea or guilty or no contest (without regard to whether adjudication was withheld).

5. The criminal history record reflects that you have another petition to seal or expunge pending before a court of 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.

Disqualifying Charges for Expunction/Sealing

8. Except for certain specified offenses, the record of an arrest may be sealed when adjudication is withheld, if otherwise eligible.  The offenses which may not be sealed (or expunged even if previously sealed for 10 years) when adjudication is withheld under current law are:

The Offenses Are: 

  1. Arson
  2. Aggravated Assault
  3. Aggravated Battery
  4. Illegal use of explosives
  5. Child abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse
  6. Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
  7. Aircraft piracy
  8. Kidnapping
  9. Homicide
  10. Manslaughter
  11. Sexual Battery
  12. Robbery
  13. Carjacking
  14. Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years
  15. Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of a person in familial or custodial authority
  16. Burglary of a dwelling
  17. Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
  18. Act of Domestic Violence
  19. Home-invasion Robbery
  20. Act of Terrorism as defined by 
  21. Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893
  22. Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes

Section 393.135, F.S.
Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses
Section 394.4593, F.S.
Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses
Section 787.025, F.S.
Luring or enticing a child
Chapter 794, F.S. 
Sexual Battery and related offenses
Former Section 796.03, F.S.
Procuring person under 18 for prostitution
Section 800.04, F.S.
Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
Section 810.14, F.S.
Voyeurism
Section 817.034, F.S.
Florida Communication Fraud Act
(Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud, as used in Section 817.034(d), F.S.)
Section 825.1025, F.S.
Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person
Section 827.071, F.S.
Sexual performance by a child
Chapter 839, F.S.
Offenses By Public Officers and Employees.
Section 847.0133, F.S.
Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor
Section 847.0135, F.S.
Computer pornography
Section 847.0145, F.S.
Selling or buying of minors
Section 893.135, F.S.
Trafficking in controlled substances
Section 916.1075, F.S.
Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses
A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under Section 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under Section 943.0435, F.S.

WHO IS ENTITLED TO SEE MY RECORD ONCE IT IS SEALED OR EXPUNGED

A Sealed criminal history record may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed 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;
  3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under Section 943.0585 or Section 943.059 or Section 943.0583;
  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 Family Services, 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; or
  7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is the subject to a criminal history background check under state or federal law.
  8. Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services
  9. Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian pursuant to Section 744.3125; or
  10. Is seeking to be licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm. This subparagraph applies only in the determination of an applicant's eligibility under Section 790.06.

When a record is expunged, all entities listed above except #7 and #10, will receive the subject's name and address information and a statement that criminal history information has been expunged, the recipient will not see the details of the arrest, any charges filed, or their disposition.

When a record is sealed, all entities listed above, will receive the sealed arrest event and with a statement that the criminal history information has been sealed.

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John P. Rutkowski, Attorney at Law, is focused on all aspects, Criminal Defense, Criminal Appeals, Driving/Boating Under the Influence. Sale, Delivery, Possession Drugs, All Sex Crimes, Felony & Misdemeanor. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

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