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Seal /Expunge Records

Can criminal records be sealed/expunged?

The Florida Statutes have a statutory procedure for sealing and/or expunging court records.  Sealing and Expunging of records are two separate legal seriveces which require seaprate legal fees and well as separate application fees and court costs. If you were charged with a crime, but not convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, because adjudication was withheld or the state declined to prosecute, and you have not had any other court record sealed or expunged in the state, you may be eligible.

Under Florida law, certain specific charges that cannot be sealed or expunged, regardless of whether or not adjudication was withheld.
The following crimes cannot be expunged or sealed if you plead nolo contendere (No contest) regardless of whether the court withheld adjudication. If you received probation for the charges then it cannot be sealed or expunged. The only way to have the following cases expunged is if: 1) The state attorney declined to file on the case (No Information), 2) the case was nolle prosequi by the state (dismissed) or 3) if you were acquitted of the charges at trial (found not guilty by a jury of your peers). If you have been charged with any of the below and do not fit into options one, two or three above, then your case cannot be sealed or expunged.

  • Arson
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Illegal use of explosives
  • Child abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse
  • Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
  • Aircraft piracy
  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide
  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual Battery
  • Robbery
  • Carjacking
  • Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years
  • Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of a person in familial or custodial authority
  • Burglary of a dwelling
  • Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
  • Act of Domestic Violence as defined in s. 741.28
  • Home-invasion Robbery
  • Act of Terrorism as defined by s. 775.30
  • Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893
  • Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes
  • Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses
  • Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses
  • Luring or enticing a child
  • Sexual Battery and related offenses
  • Procuring person under 18 for prostitution
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
  • Voyeurism
  • Florida Communication Fraud Act
  • (Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud, as used in s.817.034, F.S.)
  • Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Offenses By Public Officers and Employees.
  • Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor
  • Computer pornography
  • Selling or buying of minors
  • Trafficking in controlled substances

Also:
A violation of any offense which would require registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435 cannot be sealed or expunged.

Is there a difference between a sealed record and a record that has been expunged?
A sealed record could be opened for inspection by you, your attorney, a criminal justice agency and, in specific situations, a prospective employer. One way of thinking about this is that if you have a job at a bank, governmental agency, hospital or a school then it is likely that they will be able to see your record.
 
An expunged record would no longer exist, since the file and any references to it are destroyed. The State actually destroys the records so that nobody can view them.

Please Note: The FBI keeps its own records which are not subject to seal or expungment!!!.


How much does it cost and what is the procedure?
As of January 1, 2009, After retaining our office

Nonrefundable Retainer Fee- $995.00 r(non-client), plus a fingerprint card fee, plus cost of getting fingerprints plus $75.00 FDLE application fee, (State Application fee, County Court filing fees and other costs subject to change at any time)  **** PLEASE NOTE -LEGAL FEE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME BEFORE LAWFIRM OR LAWYER IS RETAINED

or:

$895.00 NonRefundabale Legal Reexisting client) ), plus a fingerprint card fee, plus cost of getting fingerprints plus $75.00 FDLE application fee)
(State Application fee, County Court filing fees and other costs subject to change at any time)****PLEASE NOTE -LEGAL FEE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME BEFORE LAWFIRM OR LAWYER IS RETAINED

After being retained, we will instruct you on how to procure the necessary paperwork to have your fingerprints taken at a local police station. (State Application and /or fingerprint fee or procedure subject to change at any time)

Upon receipt of your fingerprints our office will file the necessary documentation with the State Attorney's Office for their signature. The state usually returns that documentation to our office with 30 days at which point we send a Petition to FDLE in Tallahassee requesting that the record be either sealed or expunged. If they approve the application, they send a Certificate of eligibility to our office usually within 5 months.


Upon receipt, my law firm prepares a Motion to the Judge who signs it and sends a copy to both the clerk and our office. If the Judge approves the motion, your record will be sealed or expunged.  We will send you the original order. Afterwards, you must take the original order to the the Clerk's office,  and you can pay the clerk’s office  to provide certified copies of the order,  to be sent to  those agencies that have a record of your arrest, so they may seal or expunge their records, as well.  You may also pay the clerk an additional fee of $65.00 so that your name will be removed from all computers/agencies that listed you as a criminal defendant on their computer system. This entire expunge/sealing process takes 5-8 months.





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