You have a record for an arrest from a few years back. It was something silly, minor – but now it keeps popping up on your background checks and it is preventing you from getting the job you want or the apartment you like. You have heard of expunging the record but everywhere you check the attorney fees are too high. You want to resolve this yourself for free if possible, a free Florida record expungement… but how?
The Free Florida Record Expungement
There is good news but first I am gonna tell you the bad news. At the very least you will have to pay some money to expunge your record. If you qualify to have your record expunged there are several things you have to pay for, even if you do this yourself. These are:
- $?? to get your fingerprints taken from a law enforcement agency.
- $10 each for two notary stamps on the application and the affidavit.
- $?? to get certified copies of the disposition from the Clerk of Court.
- $75 FDLE fee when you submit the application.
Once you receive your Certificate of Eligibility you then have to petition the court. This is where it may get complicated (See the Do-It-Yourself Florida Expungement Book)
All courts will require either a filing fee (paid when the petition is filed) or court costs (after the petition has been granted). I believe there is at least one county that has a filing fee and court costs (I just can’t remember which one that is).
Filing fees vary from county to county and usually are around $70. Court costs also vary and are also around $70. Even if you get your petition granted, nothing will happen until these fees are paid.
There are also undefined expenses. This is not to discourage you from doing this on your own but you will need access to a computer, printer, scanner, copier, and a word processor.
On top of those items, you will need to take the time to learn how to eFile your petition and supporting documents to the court. You should check with the Clerk of Court to see if they have a program to help you with this or if you can be allowed to file the paperwork by hand/mail.
If you have all the necessary equipment and you are a quick learner on eFiling, then your grand total (excluding your time) for your free Florida record expungement can be as low as $200 (+/-$50), which is not bad considering some attorneys charge a lot more than that (remember that they are also charging for their time and experience too).
There are resources out there to help you – many Clerk of Courts, State Attorney’s offices, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement all have websites that may have information on how to do this. The problem most people run into when trying to do this on their own is getting legal advice. The Clerk of Court can’t do that, the State Attorney won’t, nor can FDLE. Only an attorney can do that and most, for good reason, will not advise you because of the liability they would face.
The Free Florida Record Expungement is only about $250
Don’t be afraid to try to do this on your own if that is what you want to do. Many people are able to do this themselves. The worst case scenario is getting to a hearing and having the petition denied. Then you must immediately consult with an attorney. Besides that, you can always bail out at anytime and seek a lawyer to finish the work you started.
For More Information
Please note the date this article was published. The information listed above is subject to change as changes are made to the laws. The information written above is meant only to be for Informational Purposes Only and is not legal advice.
If any corrections or errors are found please notify me as soon as possible.
Eric Dirga has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located online in Orlando, FL. He provides representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.