If I receive a full pardon can I have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
The only way you can seal or expunge your record after receiving a full pardon (or any other kind of pardon) is if it actually says on the face of the pardon that you are entitled to seal or expunge your criminal history record. A full pardon (or any other kind of pardon) granted by the Governor of Florida does not remove the ineligibility condidtion for sealing or expunging a record created by the original guilty (or other disqualifying disposition). This was decided by the Supreme Court of Florida in R.J.L. v. State, 887 So. 2d 1268 (Fla. 2004).
In R.J.L. v. State, the Florida Supreme Court resolved the conflict that existed between Doe v. State, 595 So. 2d 212 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992) and Randall v. Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 791 So. 2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001). There is no question that a pardon removes the punishment and disabilities associated with a guilty (or similar disposition) while also restoring civil rights. However, being denied a record sealing or expunction, according to the Florida Supreme Court, is not a punishment. Rather, the Florida Supreme Court stated that they view it as a right that is lost when a person is convicted of a criminal offense. With that being said, the Florida Supreme Court also made clear that it is not one of the civil rights that are restored by a pardon from Florida's Governor. Pardon or not, the original disposition is not removed, and as a result, the current expunction statute that says a person with a disqualifying disposition will be denied their application. Regardless, however, a pardon will be on a person's record, benefitting them in the long run. Find out if you qualify for sealing or expunction of your record or if you need to apply to have your rights restored or for a pardon.