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Frequently Asked Questions

Issues related to clearing your criminal records in Florida.

18 answers

Both sealing and expungement result in the general public no longer having access to the criminal history record. Expunged records are destroyed except for one copy retained by the Department of Law Enforcement and by the court. Sealed Records are available only to the subject of the record or the subject’s attorney. However, sealed and expunged records can also be accessed by a limited number of government entities for licensing and employment purposes, including law enforcement, and agencies serving vulnerable populations such as children, the disabled, and schools.

A criminal history record is created whenever a person is arrested and fingerprinted even if charges are dismissed or dropped later. In general, this record will remain public unless it is sealed or expunged.

Florida criminal justice agencies, the Florida Bar, Department of Children and Families, the Department of Education (including but not limited to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation), the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Financial Services (including the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services), and the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Even though these entities will be able to get access to your record the record will include a notation that the criminal history information has been sealed.

Florida law currently only allows the criminal history record from a single arrest be sealed or expunged. However, if a court decides that multiple arrests are directly related the court has the power to order the criminal history record from the related arrests be sealed or expunged.

There is no requirement that you have an attorney in order to request a seal or an expungement of your criminal history record. However, because the process sometimes involves complex legal issues, an attorney’s advice and assistance may well be helpful in many cases. If you need information on how to contact an attorney that is knowledgeable in this area of the law, you can contact the Florida Bar online at or by phone at (800) 342-8011.

No, unless the pardon states otherwise. See R.J.L. v. State, 887 So.2d 1268 (Fla. 2004).

No, clemency will not automatically expunge your criminal record.

No because you will still have a felony conviction on your record even if your civil rights are restored.

Yes, having a record sealed or expunged outside of Florida will not disqualify you from having your Florida criminal history record sealed or expunged.

It can take up to 6 months, or longer if you submit an incomplete application, for the FDLE to process an Application for a Certificate of Eligibility. By visiting you can see the current month’s applications that are being processed.

The Clerk of the Court is responsible for sending certified copies of the court order to the State Attorney’s Office and the arresting agency. The arresting agency is then responsible for sending a certified copy of the court order to all agencies that the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history information to, such as the FDLE, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

A seal or expungement order only restricts access to your record at the government level. In order to remove the information from the internet you will need to contact all the private entities displaying your information to request they remove it. Easy Expunctions offers the Eliminator service which notifies hundreds of online background check, people search, and data brokers of the need to remove the sealed or expunged criminal history information from their records.

After a court has ordered your criminal history record sealed or expunged you may lawfully deny the record, however there are exceptions to this general rule, including when seeking approval for firearms purchases or transfers.

Sealing is available in cases where there has been no adjudication of guilt, as well as in cases where adjudication has been withheld – except that certain serious sexual and violent offenses are not eligible for sealing in withheld cases.

Expungement is possible when no charges were filed or all the charges from an arrest were dismissed prior to trial. In the case of deferred judgments, if the record has been sealed for 10 years it is eligible to be expunged.

There are several costs associated with getting your record sealed or expunged. First, there are costs associated with the Application for a Certificate of Eligibility, these include the cost of a notary, postage, and the $75 application fee. There are also costs associated with getting a certified case disposition but we will take care of that for you so you don’t have to worry about that. The statutory fee associated with the actual filing of your petition is $42, however many counties charges additional amounts for copying and certification, which will vary by county. In our experience, the total fees paid to the court/clerk when filing your petition should not exceed $100. If you are unable to pay your court filing fees you may be able to request a payment plan from the clerk at the time you file.

It is up to the particular court where your petition is filed whether to have a hearing or not. Some judges prefer to grant petitions without a hearing while others may wish to have a hearing before issuing a ruling.

The offenses which may not be sealed (or expunged even if previously sealed for 10 years) are:
(a) Sexual misconduct, as defined in s. 393.135, s. 3457 394.4593, or s. 916.1075;
(b) Illegal use of explosives, as defined in chapter 552;
(c) Terrorism, as defined in s. 775.30;
(d) Murder, as defined in s. 782.04, s. 782.065, or s. 782.09;
(e) Manslaughter or homicide, as defined in s. 782.07, s. 3463 782.071, or s. 782.072;
(f) Assault or battery, as defined in ss. 784.011 and 784.03, respectively, of one family or household member by another family or household member, as defined in s. 741.28(3);
(g) Aggravated assault, as defined in s. 784.021;
(h) Felony battery, domestic battery by strangulation, or aggravated battery, as defined in s. 784.03, s. 784.041, and s. 784.045, respectively;
(i) Stalking or aggravated stalking, as defined in s. 784.048;
(j) Luring or enticing a child, as defined in s. 787.025;
(k) Human trafficking, as defined in s. 787.06;
(l) Kidnapping or false imprisonment, as defined in s. 787.01 or s. 787.02;
(m) Any offense defined in chapter 794;
(n) Procuring a person less than 18 years of age for prostitution, as defined in former s. 796.03;
(o) Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age, as defined in s. 800.04;
(p) Arson, as defined in s. 806.01;
(q) Burglary of a dwelling, as defined in s. 810.02;
(r) Voyeurism or video voyeurism, as defined in s. 810.14 and s. 810.145, respectively;
(s) Robbery or robbery by sudden snatching, as defined in s. 812.13 and s. 812.131, respectively;
(t) Carjacking, as defined in s. 812.133;
(u) Home-invasion robbery, as defined in s. 812.135;
(v) A violation of the Florida Communications Fraud Act, as provided in s. 817.034;
(w) Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, as defined in s. 825.102;
(x) Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person, as defined in s. 825.1025;
(y) Child abuse or aggravated child abuse, as defined in s. 827.03;
(z) Sexual performance by a child, as defined in s. 827.071;
(aa) Any offense defined in chapter 839;
(bb) Certain acts in connection with obscenity, as defined in s. 847.0133;
(cc) Any offense defined in s. 847.0135;
(dd) Selling or buying of minors, as defined in s. 847.0145;
(ee) Aircraft piracy, as defined in s. 860.16;
(ff) Manufacturing a controlled substance in violation of chapter 893;
(gg) Drug trafficking, as defined in s. 893.135; or
(hh) Any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, or sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration.