SEALING / EXPUNGEMENT FAQ’S

How long will it take to seal or expunge my record?

The entire process should take about 6-8 months, but there is no set time frame. We try our hardest to complete your case as soon as possible, but the majority of the time delay is the result of the backlog at the FDLE and in the court system. Currently, the FDLE is about 5-6 months behind schedule. Expungement can take 3-6 weeks longer, because the State Attorney must first sign the application for the certificate of eligibility before it is submitted to the FDLE.

What if I was arrested by mistake, can my record be expunged?

Florida allows for an individual who was arrested by mistake (mistaken identity or contrary to law) may apply to have any non-judicial records of an arrest expunged. This would not count as the applicant's one time sealing or expungement under Florida law. However, this process requires the approval of the chief of the law enforcement agency, sheriff, or department head of the state law enforcement agency to review the record and sign an affidavit admitting the arrest was a mistake or was contrary to law, which can be difficult to obtain.

When must a sealed or expunged record be divulged?
Despite being hidden from the public, meaning it will not be shown on any background checks, the FDLE will reveal the existence of a sealed record to certain parties if an individual is applying to them for employment or a professional license. The FDLE will reveal the existence of a sealed record to the following parties :

  • A law enforcement agency
  • The Department of Children and Families
  • The Department of Juvenile Justice
  • A contractor or licensee dealing with children
  • The Department of Education
  • Any public school or private school
  • The Florida Bar
How many charges can I seal or expunge?

Only charges stemming from one arrest or criminal incident may be sealed or expunged. Multiple charges or arrests stemming from a single arrest/incident may be sealed or expunged if the court orders it.

Can I seal or expunge a charge of Driving under the Influence?

Yes. However, Florida prohibits a withhold of adjudication on DUI charges today, so it is important to verify the outcome of your case. Please note, however, that although a DUI may be sealed or expunged, it may still appear on your driving record.

What if I was a Juvenile when I was arrested?

Most juvenile records are automatically expunged after a certain period of time. Additionally, Florida law provides that an arrest that occurred while an individual was a juvenile may be eligible to apply for a Juvenile Diversion Expunction.  See our Juvenile Crimes practice area for more information.

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