Sealing your Record or Obtaining an Expungement of your Record in Florida
Expungement is an action where you are essentially erasing your criminal record. Although, some agencies can still see your record. For example, a law enforcement investigator, DCF caseworker or an investigator at a State professional board could still see your record. In Florida, an expungement can be obtained if your case was dropped and you have no prior adjudications.
Sealing a record is quite similar to an expungement. Except that sealing can be done only where there is a withhold of adjudication. However, not all charges can be sealed.
Once you determine your eligibility, you will need to fill out an application, and pay $75 fee to the Florida Department of Law enforcement. The State of Florida will run a background check to ensure eligibility. This process involves being fingerprinted, there is usually a nominal fee associated with having fingerprints taken. Contact your local police department for more information and make sure they put your finger prints on blue cards (not red, which will go into the FBI NCIC report as an "arrest").
If your application is approved, then a petition must be filed with the court where your case originated. There is a $42 filing fee associated with the filing of the petition and must be paid at the same time the petition is filed. The petition requests the court for permission to seal or expunge your record. Once your request is granted by the judge, the the record will become sealed. Hiring an attorney can be beneficial during this process because the application process, petition, filing process, etc. may involve legal issues. Determining eligibility and deciding whether it is a good time to seal or expunge can be made easy with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.