Expunging Sealed Record in Florida: Under Florida law, a criminal arrest record that has been sealed for 10-years can be expunged so long as the petitioner still qualifies. This is something to think about when you qualify and have your arrest record sealed today.
Expunging the Sealed Record
Florida law specifically states that an arrest record that has been sealed for 10-years can be expunged provided the petitioner (you) qualifies:
943.0585(1)(b)3. – Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, s. 943.059, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (2)(h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.
This may be something you want to do in the future and should be analyzed or discussed with your attorney that is petitioning the court to seal your arrest record.
Qualifying to Expunge Your Sealed Record
In order to qualify to have your sealed record expunged, ten years must have passed from the date of the order to seal and you must never have been convicted of a criminal offense. New offenses that have happened since your record was sealed do not automatically disqualify you unless they resulted in a conviction. However, they will be considered by the Court when it considers whether or not to grant your request.
Additionally, the offense that was sealed must have remained eligible for this relief. As time goes on, the laws may change. If the offense you had sealed 10-years ago is now prohibited by law from being expunged then it cannot be expunged. This is rare but can happen. (See, Mary Kirby Quandary)
Problems To Avoid
The biggest hurdle to overcome when trying to expunge your arrest record that has already been sealed for 10-years or more is gathering information. When you’re expunging sealed record, you will need to know the case number, arresting agency, date of arrest, etc. This information is typically no longer available from the Clerk of Court.
Lawyers are require to maintain records for 6-years, unless you are informed otherwise. Today, many attorneys keep records indefinitely because they scan their cases into a convenient format that is easy to maintain. You should contact the attorney that sealed your case today to see if they still have copies of these records if you are considering expunging sealed record.
Keep The Records of Your Sealed Case
If you have had your arrest record sealed, keep all the documented copies you have. You should have received a certified copy of the order. Some attorneys (me in particular) will also try to obtain certified copies of the charging document, arrest affidavit (police report), and disposition to provide to you once the sealing has been ordered. Copies of these records will have the information necessary to expunge your record in 10-years.
If you are currently in the process of having your record sealed, obtain certified copies of 1) the charging document, 2) the police report, and 3) the disposition of your case. There may be other documents you should have such as all violations of probation dispositions, but at a minimum have the above-noted three.
Expunging Sealed Record Checklist
If you are having your arrest record sealed and you think you may want to have it expunged in 10-years, keep this checklist in mind:
- Keep all your case documents-
- If your record is not yet sealed, get these records (certified) now from the Clerk of Court.
- If your record is already sealed, track down your records – contact your attorney.
- Do not get arrested in the future-
- Avoid criminal behavior and those who behave that way.
- If arrested, avoid conviction if possible.
- Hope that the charges you had sealed are not prohibited by the legislature between the time they are sealed and the time you try to have them expunged.
For More Information Emailed to You
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 legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.
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