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Expeal Quick Guide To Sealing And Expunging Florida Charges

Tagged under: Law Resources Florida Expeal
By Expeal on January 23, 2016.

An old Florida postcard.

In Florida, the first question you have to ask yourself is whether you have been convicted of any crimes, including criminal traffic infractions (like DUI, Reckless Driving, or Driving While License Suspended), at any point in your life. If the answer is yes, then you cannot seal or expunge any charges, even if they are not related to the conviction.

If you have never been convicted of any charges, then the next question you have to ask yourself is whether you have ever had charges sealed or expunged in any state, not just Florida. If the answer is yes, then you cannot seal or expunge any charges, even if they are not related to the sealed/expunged case.

If you have never had charges sealed or expunged before, then you have to ask if you have ever been found guilty, pled guilty, pled nolo contrendere (no contest), or had adjudication withheld, on a violation of a list of different charges. If the answer is yes, then you cannot seal or expunge any charges, even if they are not related to the case on that list.

If you can answer no, you have never had a disqualifying disposition in one of those listed cases, then you will most likely qualify. Nothing is guaranteed without a full background check and a check of the case you want sealed or expunged, but you have pretty good odds of qualifying if you made it this far.

Another important thing to know is that in Florida, you have to seal your record first. This means the record is just hidden from public records, it is not actually removed. After having your record sealed for 10 years, you have to go through all the questions above (skipping the one about having had a previous case sealed or expunged, unless you have actually had a case sealed or expunged in another state during those 10 years). If you make it through one more time, you most likely will qualify to have your record expunged.

Regardless of whether you seal or expunge your record, the process will require collecting certain documents, sending certain documents, paying certain fees, and potentially attending a hearing. Thankfully, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is one of the best in the country when it comes to making it easy to figure out what to do.

Get Started

Once you are ready, these are the agencies you need to contact: You will also have to contact your county clerk of court. Step-by-step instructions including who to contact, what to send, and where to send it, are available at the end of our qualification form.

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