As a general
rule, criminal court and arrest records are public. That means anyone
can go online and find out if someone's ever been arrested, charged,
or convicted of a crime. To maintain privacy and avoid problems with
potential employers, persons with prior brushes with the law may want
to seal or expunge their records. Sealing means that the record of
your criminal arrest is retained by the courts and criminal justice
agencies, but the records are not accessible to the public.
Expunging means that the
record of your criminal arrest is physically destroyed. Only one copy
is retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and that
copy is not accessible to the public.
In order to qualify
for sealing or expunging, you must meet the following eligibility
- You have never previously sealed or
expunged a criminal arrest record.
- You have never been adjudicated guilty
of a misdemeanor or felony, either as an adult or as a juvenile.
- You were not adjudicated guilty of
the offense for which you are seeking sealing or expungement.
- You are not currently under court
- The criminal arrest record you are
seeking to seal is not an ineligible offense (ineligible offenses
include: aggravated assault, aggravated battery, burglary of a dwelling,
domestic violence which resulted in physical injury, stalking, drug
trafficking, drug manufacturing).
In order to have a
criminal arrest record expunged, one of the following has to apply:
arrest record you are seeking to expunge has been sealed for at
least 10 years.
You were arrested,
but the State Attorney’s Office did not charge you.
The State Attorney’s
Office charged you, but those charges were dropped by the prosecutor
or dismissed by the court (this includes dismissal through the completion
of a pretrial diversion program).
A person who has sealed his or her record
may lawfully deny the arrests covered by the sealed record, except
when the person is:
for a job with a criminal justice agency, the Department of Family
Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or a sensitive position
having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled,
or the elderly.
A candidate for
admission to the Florida Bar.
Applying for a
job that will give him or her access to Florida Seaports.
Attempting to purchase
The Hardy Law Firm, P.A. to Seal/Expunge Your Record?
Attorney Hardy is a former prosecutor and is Board Certified
by the Florida Bar as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. Of the more than
86,000 Florida lawyers, less than ½ of 1% have attained the distinction
of Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law.
If you would like to seal
or expunge a record, contact The Hardy Law Firm,
P.A. to meet with Attorney David C. Hardy and discuss the matter
at no charge.