How can criminal records be sealed/expunged in Florida?
Charged, Not Convicted, WithheldIf you have been charged with a crime, but not convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, because adjudication was withheld or the state declined to prosecute, and you have not had any other court record sealed or expunged in the state, you may be eligible.
According to Florida law, there are specific charges that cannot be sealed or expunged, regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.
Generally cannot be expungedThe following offenses cannot be expunged or sealed if you plead nolo contendere (No contest) regardless of whether the court withheld adjudication. If you received probation for the charges then it cannot be sealed or expunged. The only way to have the following cases expunged is if:
1) The state attorney declined to file on the case (No Information),
2) the case was nolle prosequi by the state (dismissed) or
3) if you were acquitted of the charges at trial (found not guilty by a jury of your peers).
If you have been charged with any of the below and do not fit into options one, two or three above, then your case cannot be sealed or expunged.
List of restricted charges: (1-20)1. Arson
2. Aggravated Assault
3. Aggravated Battery
4. Illegal use of explosives
5. Child abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse
6. Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
7. Aircraft piracy
11. Sexual Battery
14. Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years
15. Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of a person in familial or custodial authority
16. Burglary of a dwelling
17. Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
18. Act of Domestic Violence as defined in s. 741.28
19. Home-invasion Robbery
20. Act of Terrorism as defined by s. 775.30
List of restricted charges: (21-30)21. Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893
22. Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes
23. Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses
24. Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses
25. Luring or enticing a child
26. Sexual Battery and related offenses
27. Procuring person under 18 for prostitution
28. Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
30. Florida Communication Fraud Act
List of restricted chages: (31-40)31. Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud, as used in s.817.034, F.S.
32. Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person
33. Sexual performance by a child
34. Offenses by Public Officers and Employees.
35. Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor
36. Computer pornography
37. Selling or buying of minors
38. Trafficking in controlled substances
39. Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses
40. A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435.
What is the difference between a sealed record and a record that has been expunged?A sealed record could be opened for inspection by you, your attorney, a criminal justice agency and, in specific situations, a prospective employer. One way of thinking about this is that if you have a job at a bank, governmental agency, hospital or a school then it is likely that they will be able to see your record. An expunged record would no longer exist, since the file and any references to it are destroyed. The State actually destroys the records so that nobody can view them. Nobody, but the FBI, anyway.