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How do I get a misdemeanor charge expunged/sealed off my record in the state of Florida?

Jacksonville, FL |

I've looked all over the internet and nothing looks promising. I know there's a way to do it online, but I'm not sure how.
Thank you

Attorney Answers 4


  1. If you have any conviction fir any crime at any time you are ineligible fir sealing or expungement. You would be wise to consult with a lawyer who will go over the process with you and determine your eligibility.

    Also remember that a reord sealing or expungement only covers court sounding police records, not information in private databases on the Internet.

    Good Luck

    Every case and situation is different and my answers will vary greatly depending on the specific facts of each one. My answers are not to be considered complete answers to each question and do not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Always seek the advice if your own attorney. I am licensed only in the State of Florida and in federal courts. Florida Bar #337821, admitted 1982.


  2. Sealing and /or expunging your record may not be an option for you, but your chances are good if it was your first misdemeanor. If adjudication was withheld (as is often the case for first offenses), then you may qualify, depending on a number of factors, most notably the nature of your offense.
    You can go to the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) website here:
    http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/361ffd35-8129-4cfe-ba09-3eece9ad1a79/Instructions-for-Applying-for-a-Certificate-of-Eli.aspx
    You can download an application, that you will need to complete and have notarized. You will also need to be fingerprinted by an authorized law enforcement personnel or a criminal justice agency. You will also need a certified disposition of your case from the state attorney. That, and there’s a $75.00 non-refundable fee for the state.
    Most importantly, don’t expect results overnight. The state will take a while to get back to you, even under ideal circumstances. Expect the process to take several months. If all this seems daunting, you can always have a criminal defense attorney assist you with the process. Good luck!


  3. Sealing is available in a case where you received a withhold of adjudication, and expunction is available in a case which was dismissed, nolle pros'd, no actioned or where you were found to have been not guilty. In Florida you can only seal or expunge one eligible (non-disqualified) offense in your lifetime.

    If you look at the following website you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the sealing / expunction process:

    http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/content/getdoc/c83dd888-ef7a-448e-9a96-ba69fc4181f7/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx

    The procedure is both quite detailed and somewhat painstaking but is also far from being rocket science. You can attempt to navigate it yourself (FDLE has tried to simplify it - again I refer you to the website above) but, assuming your eligibility, any criminal defense lawyer (anywhere in Florida - this can be done remotely and does not necessarily require a local attorney, although a local attorney may or may not be less expensive) will be able to accomplish the task with greater ease and likely in a shorter time period.

    That said I suspect that it doesn't much matter where you were arrested, what you were arrested for, what the final disposition was or whether or not you sealed / expunged the record. This is 2013 and we are forehead deep into the internet age, where nothing is private, sacred or truly hidden from public scrutiny.

    Sadly, sealing (and expunging) only applies to certain (not even to all) government agencies and has no effect whatsoever on private (er, extortionist) enterprise, who compile and maintain arrest information and then demand that you pay them off to remove your information from their database and public access. Worse still, after you "buy back your information", then you can count on there being another private company lurking, somewhere, sometime, somehow, just waiting for you to pay them off as well. Its a seemingly never-ending vicious cycle.

    For better or for worse you are probably best advised to take the wind out of the sails by admitting your past issues / indiscretions to your present (or potential) employer, landlord, etcetera,rather than waiting for them to find out on their own.

    I hope that this has been helpful and wish you the best of luck!

    First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)


  4. The forms necessary to apply to have your record sealed or expunged are available online from the FDLE website. Those forms are required for only the first step of the process, however. If you successfully navigate the rules and requirements for FDLE approval, then you must petition the court to actually finish the job. It is usually best for an attorney to handle the entire process to get it accomplished in a minimal amount of time. But first, your case needs to be screened for the basics
    to learn whether there's any chance for FDLE approval. Call for a free consult and to see if your case is eligible to have a chance for success if applying to FDLE.

    The above is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice nor makes you a client of the Mosca Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a lawyer in order to obtain confidential legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation and facts.

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