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Sealing a Criminal Record

A court may order a criminal history record of a minor or an adult to be sealed. To qualify for a court-ordered sealing, a person must first obtain a certificate of eligibility from the FDLE pursuant to requirements set forth in s. 943.059(2), F.S.

Under Florida law, there is no statutory right to a court-ordered sealing and any request for sealing of a criminal history record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court. Although, the courts will routinely grant these motions and order the record to be sealed.

If the court grants a petition to seal, the clerk of the court then certifies copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or prosecutor and the arresting agency. The arresting agency must provide the sealing 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.

An order sealing a criminal history record does not require that record to be surrendered to the court because the FDLE and other criminal justice agencies shall continue to maintain the record.

Attorneys to Seal a Criminal Record in Tampa, FL

If you are eligible to seal or expunge a criminal record, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We have filed the applications in hundreds of cases and appeared in courts throughout Florida to make sure the judge signs the order and the process is completed without any delay.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm charge a flat $950 fee to seal a criminal history record.

Call us at 813-250-0500 to find out more about how to get the process started today.


Requirements to Obtain a Court-Ordered Sealing of a Criminal Record

The requirements to seal a criminal record include obtaining a certificate of eligibility for sealing. To be eligible to obtain the certificate of eligibility to seal the record, the applicant must not:

  • Be under court supervision for the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains;
  • 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 seal pertains;
  • Have secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record;
  • Prior to the date on which the application is filed:
    • have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or
    • been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b), F.S.

Items Need to Obtain the "Certificate of Eligibility" to Seal a Record

In order to seal a criminal history record, the applicant must also submit to the FDLE:

  • A $75 processing fee, unless it is waived by the executive director; and
  • A certified copy of the disposition of the charge.

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm for sealing a criminal record can help you complete all the paperwork and submit all the items required to obtain the "certificate of eligibility."


Petitioning the Court to Seal a Criminal Record in Florida

After we receive the certificate of eligibility for sealing, we prepare all of the paperwork to petition the court to seal the criminal history record. Along with the certificate of eligibility, the petitioner must include a sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:

  • Is eligible for such a sealing and does not have any other petition to seal or expunge pending before any court;
  • Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record;
  • 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 to seal pertain;
  • Has never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed:
    • 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 seal 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 completed petition to seal.


Effect of Sealing of Criminal History Record in Florida

The person who has their criminal history record sealed may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the records that were sealed, unless they are:

  • A defendant in a criminal prosecution;
  • A candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
  • Petitioning to have a court-ordered criminal history record expunged or sealed or petitioning for relief under s. 943.0583, F.S.;
  • Attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed imported, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law; 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;
  • Seeking to be licensed by the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm.

This article was last updated on Friday, November 3, 2017