Expunging/Sealing Records

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 criteria:

  1. You have never previously sealed or expunged a criminal arrest record.
  2. You have never been adjudicated guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, either as an adult or as a juvenile.
  3. You were not adjudicated guilty of the offense for which you are seeking sealing or expungement.
  4. You are not currently under court supervision.
  5. 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:

  1. The arrest record you are seeking to expunge has been sealed for at least 10 years.
  2. You were arrested, but the State Attorney’s Office did not charge you.
  3. 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:

  1. Applying 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.
  2. A candidate for admission to the Florida Bar.
  3. Applying for a job that will give him or her access to Florida Seaports.
  4. Attempting to purchase a firearm.

Why Choose 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.

Back to Criminal