Expunction of a Criminal Record
A court may order a criminal history record of a minor or an adult to be expunged. As provided in Section 943.0585, F.S., a person is only permitted to obtain one court-ordered expunction in their lifetime.
To qualify for a court-ordered expunction, a person must first obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) pursuant to requirements set forth in ss. 943.0585(2) or 943.0585(5), F.S.
Many people ask us whether they need a lawyer to expunge their record. Although the FDLE website explains how to expunge your record in Florida without the need to hire an attorney, many people decide to hire an attorney to help them through the process.
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm can prepare all of the paperwork for you and show you where to sign. In fact, the entire process can be completed in our office in about 45 minutes, or we can email you all the forms and you can send them back to us if you live outside of the Tampa Bay area.
Attorney for the Expunction of a Criminal Record in Tampa, FL
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, charge a flat fee of $950 to expunge a criminal record in Florida.
After the record is expunged, we also contact third party data mining companies to demand that they take the records off of their website. Never allow these third party sites to extort money out of you, because once you pay to remove a record from one website, it will often pop up on one of their sister sites.
We take cases to expunge criminal records throughout the State of Florida. Call (813) 250-0500 to find out if you are eligible and start the process today.
Qualifying for a Court-Ordered Expunction in Florida
To obtain a certificate of eligibility for expunction, a person must submit to the FDLE:
- Obtain a written, certified statement from the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor which indicates:
- An indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case.
- An indictment, information, or other charging document, if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi (a formal entry upon the record that declares that the case will not be further prosecuted) by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, and
- that none of the charges that the person is seeking to expunge resulted in a trial.
- The criminal history record does not relate to certain violations including:
- violation of pretrial detention;
- drug trafficking;
- violations of the Florida Communications Fraud Act
- sexual misconduct
- any violation specified as a predicated offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to the Florida Sexual Predators Act. Section 943.0585(2)(a)3., F.S.;
- lewd or lascivious offenses committed in front of a minor, an elderly person, or a disabled person;
- sexual battery
- luring or enticing a child
- procuring a person under 18 for prostitution;
- selling or buying of minors;
- child pornography;
- acts in connection with obscenity and minors;
- offenses by public officers and employees; or
- sexual abuse of a child.
- Pay a $75 processing fee, unless it is waived by the executive director.
- Obtain a certified copy of the disposition of the charge.
Other Issues that Make a Person Ineligible to Expunge a Florida Criminal Record
The other issues that might make the applicant ineligible to expunge a criminal record prior to the date of the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed include:
- Have been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains;
- Be under court supervision for the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition pertains; and
- Have secured a prior expunction or sealing of a criminal history record, unless the expunction sought is of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to s. 943.0585(2)(h), F.S.17
- Having been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b), F.S. including:
- petit theft;
- assault on a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or other specified officer;
- animal cruelty;
- child neglect;
- indecent exposure;
- open carrying of a weapon;
- unlawful possession of a firearm;
- carrying a concealed weapon;
- unlawful use of destructive devices or bombs; or
- unlawful possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property.
Filling the Sworn Statement Attesting to the Petition to Expunge
Upon receipt of a certificate of eligibility for expunction, the person must then petition the court to expunge the criminal history record. Along with the certificate of eligibility, the petition must include a sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:
- Is eligible for such an expunction and does not have any other petition to expunge or seal pending before any court.
- Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record, unless the expunction is sought for a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to s. 943.0585(2)(h), F.S., and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction;
- Has not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition pertains; and
- Has never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a specified misdemeanor.
A copy of the completed petition to expunge is then served upon the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency, any of which may respond to the court regarding the petition.
Under Florida law, there is no statutory right to a court-ordered expunction and any request for expunction of a criminal history record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court. In the vast majority of cases, the court will quickly grant the motion when all of the paperwork is in order.
Effect of Expunction of Criminal History Record
If the court grants a petition to expunge, the clerk of the court then certifies copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney and the arresting agency and any other agency that has received the criminal history record from the court.
The arresting agency must provide the expunction order to any agencies that received the criminal history record information from the arresting agency. The FDLE must provide the expunction order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Any record that the court grants the expunction of must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having such record. The FDLE, however, is required to maintain the record. That record is confidential and exempt from disclosure requirements under the public records laws. Only a court order would make the record available to a person or entity that is otherwise excluded.
The person who has their criminal history record expunged may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the records that were expunged unless they are:
- A defendant in a criminal prosecution;
- Petitioning to have a court-ordered criminal history record expunged or sealed or petitioning for relief under s. 943.0583, F.S.; or
- Seeking appointment as a guardian, a position with a criminal justice agency, a license by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services, or a position with an agency that is responsible for the protection of vulnerable persons, including children, the disabled, or the elderly;
- A candidate for admission to The Florida Bar.
How to Expunge Your Record in Florida for Free – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find out more about the process to seal or expunge a criminal history record in Florida. If you do it yourself, the process is free except for the application fee and costs. The FDLE website contains the expungement packet so that you can do it yourself and eliminate any money paid for attorney fees.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 3, 2017.