Sealing & Expungement of Criminal History Records
Florida law makes adult criminal history records public, with special provisions for access, unless the records have been sealed or expunged. The records may include arrests, charges and case dispositions. A sealed record is placed under highly restricted access. An expunged record is removed from court and law enforcement record systems or files and destroyed (also called “expunction”). Sealing or expungement of criminal records is sometimes obtainable if your case was resolved by dismissal or without formal conviction (or a “withhold of adjudication” of guilt). The law currently provides several ways to seal or expunge certain categories of Florida criminal history records for both adults and juveniles.
Administrative Expungement – If you were arrested as an adult or juvenile by mistake or illegally, you may be eligible to have your criminal history records expunged under Florida Statute § 943.0581. In order to be eligible for this expunction, the arresting agency, the State Attorney’s Office or the Court must provide written documentation specifically finding that the arrest was by mistake or illegal (unlawful).
Court-Ordered Sealing or Expungement – This is the most common way to have your records sealed or expunged. If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime, your criminal history record for the incident may be eligible for sealing or expungement. To qualify, you must not have a prior felony conviction or be convicted of certain misdemeanor charges. A criminal history record for the following offenses will disqualify you from having your records sealed or expunged:
· Sexual misconduct
· Illegal use of explosives
· Murder, manslaughter or homicide
· Assault or battery of one family or household member against another
· Aggravated assault
· Felony battery
· Domestic battery by strangulation
· Aggravated battery
· Aggravated stalking
· Luring or enticing a child
· Human trafficking
· False imprisonment
· Any offense listed under Chapter 794, Florida Statutes (Sexual battery)
· Procuring a person less than 18 years of age for prostitution
· Lewd or lascivious offenses
· Burglary of a dwelling
· Voyeurism or video voyeurism
· Home-invasion robbery
· Violation of the Florida Communications Fraud Act
· Abuse of the elderly
· Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
· Sexual performance by a child
· Any offense listed in Chapter 839, Florida Statutes
· Certain acts in connection with obscenity
· Any offenses defined in Florida Statute § 847.0135
· Selling or buying minors
· Aircraft piracy
· Manufacturing a controlled substance
· Drug trafficking
· Any offenses that would require registration as a sexual predator or sexual offender
See Florida Statute § 943.0584.
Juvenile Diversion Expungement – A juvenile who has successfully completed an authorized juvenile diversion program for a misdemeanor may apply for a juvenile diversion expungement.
Lawful Self-Defense Expungement – You may apply to have your records expunged if the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor certifies that you acted in lawful self-defense pursuant to the provisions related to justifiable use of force in Chapter 776, Florida Statutes, and the charge(s) were not filed on or were dismissed by the state attorney or the court.
Human Trafficking Expungement – You may apply to have your arrest records expunged if you were a victim of human trafficking.
Having your records sealed or expunged gives you the right to deny ever having been arrested or charged with a crime in most circumstances. In an initial consultation, we will begin to help you determine whether you qualify for a physical destruction of all records or if you qualify instead to have your records sealed and placed under highly restricted access.
Having your arrest records sealed or expunged may allow you to avoid having to explain your arrest over and over for the rest of your life – despite the fact that your case was dismissed or you were not convicted (adjudicated).
Make the necessary investment to pursue the sealing or expungement of your criminal history records with the assistance of our dedicated team.
Contact Lindsey & Ferry, P.A. to learn more about our qualifications and past successes helping clients obtain expungements.