In Florida, certain individuals qualify to have a criminal conviction expunged from their record.
When a conviction is expunged, the criminal record of that conviction is physically destroyed or obliterated by the criminal justice agency that has custody of the record.
The expungement essentially deletes the conviction from your criminal record.
However, not everyone qualifies for expungements in Florida.
Do I Qualify for Expungement in Florida?
Florida Statutes Section 943.0585(1) lays out the eligibility requirements for obtaining expungements in Florida. Only charges that were ultimately dropped, dismissed, or resulted in an acquittal are eligible for expungement.
Additionally, you must meet the following Florida expungement requirements:
- You’ve never been convicted of a criminal violation in Florida;
- You’ve never been adjudicated delinquent of a felony offense or specified misdemeanors(criminal charge as a juvenile);
- The criminal history record you’re seeking to expunge is eligible for court-ordered expungement under Section 943.0584;
- An indictment, information, or other charging document was never filed in the case giving rise to the criminal history record, or if filed was later dropped, dismissed, or resulted in acquittal;
- You’ve never secured a prior sealing or expungement of a criminal history record under this law; and
- You’re no longer under court supervision for the alleged criminal activity the petition to expunge references.
Florida law prohibits expungement of certain criminal offenses that resulted in a withhold of adjudication of guilt.
Some of these offenses include:
- Sexual misconduct;
- Illegal use of explosives;
- Manslaughter or homicide;
- Stalking or aggravated stalking;
- Burglary of a dwelling;
- Sexual performance by a child; and
- Drug trafficking.
Once you determine that you meet Florida’s expungement requirements, you can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Along with the application, Florida requires you to submit a written certified statement from the appropriate state attorney or prosecutor that confirms your eligibility for expungement.
Additionally, you must include a certified copy of the disposition of the charge you’re seeking to expunge.
Obtaining an Expungement
Once your criminal history record is expunged, that arrest virtually disappears from your record. You no longer have to disclose the record to potential employers, educational institutions, or on background checks. However, there are some situations where you are required to disclose the arrest record, even if it was expunged.
Some of these scenarios include:
- If you’re seeking employment with law enforcement;
- When you’re the defendant in a criminal prosecution;
- Seeking admission to the Florida Bar Association;
- Seeking employment with the Department of Education or the Department of Children and Family Services;
- Attempting to purchase a firearm; and
- Applying for a concealed carry license.
Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The Florida expungement requirements can easily confuse anyone without legal expertise.
As a former public defender with over 20 years of experience, Attorney Jeffery Higgins has helped multiple clients expunge their criminal history and get their lives back on track.
If you want your criminal history record expunged but don’t know where to start, contact Orlando Defense today.