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Expungements and Sealing

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Expungements and Sealing

Typically, the processing time to determine eligibility is typically 12 weeks from the date a completed application packet is received. Extensive research is required to determine eligibility and several factors contribute to the processing time of an application packet. Application packets are researched in the order received. Florida Department of Law Enforcement likely will not expedite application packets.

Submitting a Certificate of Eligibility is the first step in sealing or expunging a criminal history record. A record does not receive relief until a certified court order has been received by FDLE from the court of proper jurisdiction. There are several types of relief to seal or expunge criminal history records are available. The types of sealing or expungement processes authorized by statute are listed below:

Administrative Expungement – an arrest (adult or juvenile) made contrary to law or by mistake may be expunged by applying to FDLE, in one of the ways provided in statute and rule.

Court-Ordered Sealing or Expungement – a person may apply to FDLE for a Certificate of Eligibility to Seal or Expunge his/her criminal history record. This is the required first step toward obtaining the court-ordered sealing or expungement of that record. Before issuing a Certificate of Eligibility, FDLE determines if the applicant is statutorily eligible to petition the court to have his/her Florida criminal history record sealed or expunged.

Juvenile Diversion Expungement – a person who has completed an authorized juvenile diversion program for a misdemeanor, may apply for a juvenile diversion expungement, as defined.

Lawful Self-Defense Expungement – a person may apply for a Lawful Self-Defense Certificate of Eligibility if the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor certifies that the subject 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.

Human Trafficking Expungement – a person who is a victim of human trafficking (as defined in Sections 943.0583(1)(c) and 787.06, Florida Statutes) may petition for the expungement of a criminal history record resulting from the arrest or filing of charges for an offense committed or reported to have been committed as a part of the human trafficking.

Automatic Juvenile Expungement – the criminal history record of a minor maintained by FDLE will automatically be expunged (by operation of law) at the age of 21, or (if the minor was committed to a juvenile correctional facility or juvenile prison) age 26, provided certain conditions are satisfied (i.e., not having been charged with or convicted of a forcible felony as an adult or when treated as an adult).

Early Juvenile Expungement – a person between the ages of 18 and 21 may, under certain conditions, apply to have their juvenile criminal history record expunged by FDLE. A person may apply to the appropriate prosecuting attorney to approve the expungement of his/her FDLE juvenile criminal history record if the subject has not been charged with or found to have committed any criminal offense (including the one that you are seeking to expunge) within the preceding 5 years

Automatic Sealing – the criminal history record maintained by FDLE will automatically be sealed (by operation of law) when the Clerk of the Court submits a qualifying certified disposition to FDLE, via electronic means.

For a more detailed review regarding the seal and expunge process or application status go to SEinfo@fdle.state.fl.us Or visit www.fdle.state.fl.us (The definitions used herein are an exact recitation of the definitions and procedures explained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and are not the work product of Attorney Alexander J. Smith-Johnson, Esq.)
DISCLAIMER: For More information on the legal process please call us at 407-717-8557. Note that the above information is not a guarantee of how your case will proceed nor is this page legal advice under an established client-attorney representation. This page is but a basic general overview of the misdemeanor judicial process in Florida and is intended for educational purposes only.