ERIC J DIRGA, PA

Arrested When Visiting Florida

florida visitors florida arrests

Florida had over 113 million visitors in 2016. That’s a lot (considering the state’s population is just under 21 million). Unfortunately, not everyone who visited returned home without first being arrested. We can help Florida visitors who have a Florida arrest for their criminal defense and for their record expungement.

Getting Arrested in Florida

Traveling is fun but it can often be stressful too. Money issues are often a cause for stress and the cost of traveling can add to that. Stress can cause us to act irrationally and before we know it, we have done something we regret. Florida visitors need to understand the rights that apply to them when they are arrested in Florida.

  • Right to be represented by counsel (Hire an Attorney)
  • Right to a Trial (means you can enter a plea of Not Guilty)
  • Right to Confront Witnesses Against You (Hire a Lawyer)

Entering a Plea of Not Guilty

You may have done something wrong and you may think the best way to deal with it is to just admit it. However, this can be a huge mistake. Entering a plea (other than Not Guilty) without advice from counsel can lead to irreparable harm that can last a lifetime.

You Just Need More Time, Say Not Guilty

Entering a plea of Not Guilty is not the same as telling the court “I didn’t do anything wrong and I am going to fight this all the way.” Neither the court, the prosecutor, or anyone else sees it that way. A plea of Not Guilty is simply telling the court you have not yet decided what you are going to do. It is a Right, and you should use it.

What Visitors Get Arrested For

Florida visitors who get arrested in Florida typically get charged with minor offenses such as domestic arguing (violence), theft (shoplifting), or DUI/drugs (marijuana not legal in Florida). Sometimes it is for more serious offenses or the occasional criminal mischief (destruction of property) or the over charged Resisting Law Enforcement Without Violence.

Most of these type of cases (except domestic violence) will result in pretrial release. A bond (security release) or conditional release (usually prohibiting you from contacting a victim) would indicate a more serious offense.

After You Get Released, Understand What is Happening

Any arrest will be very stressful. The first thing you should do is read all the paperwork you received from the Court. Understand what just happened and what the next step is. The next step is typically a date for your arraignment set off two to four weeks away. This is a good time to contact a Criminal Attorney.

Contacting A Lawyer

After your release, you will then have the time to contact and hire a lawyer to handle your case. Representing out-of-state clients is a routine practice for us. We make contacting us easy.

Call or Text Us at 407-434-1858 to get started.

When you contact us, let us know your are a visitor and you were arrested. We will explain your situation, clear away the fog, and help you navigate through your next steps.

⚖ Criminal Defense

If the arraignment is scheduled for after you were suppose to return home, we can waive your appearance. You won’t have to be there and, so long as there is no restriction on travel, you will be able to return home.

The Court Process Takes Months

When you hire us to handle your criminal case, we deal with all the court matters. This can take months. There are many things that have to happen and no one seems to be in a rush to get it done. On top of that, you are not alone. There are many other cases that the prosecutor and the court have to deal with.

Most criminal cases can be handled while you are back home. And most cases do not require you to return in order to resolve the case unless it goes to trial.

Resolving a Florida Arrest for Florida Visitors

The critical issue will always be how to resolve your case. We will advise you of the best course of action. Keep in mind the following factors:

  • Will you be convicted of a crime, permanently marking my criminal history?
  • Will this affect your ability to re-enter the United States (if from another country)?
  • Will the disposition of your case affect anything in your life now? Job? Where I live? Etc.?

These are important issues to consider when deciding the best course of action.

We Also Handle Traffic Tickets

We even handle the traffic tickets you may get while in Florida. This is a little off-topic but a traffic ticket received in Florida can cause problems in the state you are from if not handled properly.

⚖ Traffic Ticket Defense

Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record After Resolving Your Florida Arrest

One of the important considerations you must understand is whether or not the resolution of your case will allow you to seal or expunge the record. Sealing or expunging your record is the first step to keeping this out of the public’s eye. This also means keeping it from your employer, family and friends, off job applications, etc.

How Can You Expunge Your Florida Record (From Far Away)

Even though you may live in another State or even another country, you can still have an arrest sealed or expunged so long as you qualify. Florida visitors can take advantage of the same laws as Florida residents. Although people try to do this themselves, attempting to do this from a distance can be daunting.

We have been doing this for over 20 years. We handle everything today with email, phone, text, and skype technology. We have built our practice around the use of technology to make it as easy for our clients as possible.

Will You Have to Travel Back to Florida

People who live out-of-state rarely have to return to Florida to complete this process. In the last 20 years, we have never had to have someone travel from outside of Florida. That does not mean it will never happen. If the Court requires a hearing and your presence, then arrangements will have to be made.

Will The Distance Cause Unnecessary Delays

As noted above, the use of technology mitigates any delays due to distance. Our experience also reduces most delays.

⚖ How Long It takes To Expunge/Seal Your Record

How Much Will It Cost

The cost of sealing or expunging a criminal record for a person who lives out-of-state is exactly the same for a person who lives locally. Keeping the cost down for everyone is our goal and made much easier with today’s technology.

⚖ Expungement Cost


For More Information Emailed to You

You can submit your information below and we will email you information about our record expungement and sealing services and representation. You can also go to our ⚖ Florida Expungement webpage for more details.

You will not be placed on a mailing list and we share your information with NO ONE. For more information, see our privacy policy.


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.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located in Orlando, FL. He provides legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.

How Long Does a Florida Expungement Take

how long does it take to get a record expunged in florida

One of the most often asked questions regarding a Florida expungement or sealing is “how long does it take to complete?” The quick answer today is anywhere between 10-12 months or longer*, and I’ll explain why below.

*As of May 2019, FDLE has caught up and is roughly only taking 5 months to process an application. Thus, the overall time to completion is approximately 7-9 months.

What you need to know, as a person searching for a lawyer to seal or expunge your record, is that any lawyer who promises a faster time than what is discussed below is lying to you. He or she is only telling you what you want to hear in order to get your business.

How Long Does a Florida Record Expungement Take?

First, I will explain all the things that can affect the time it takes to complete a Florida expungement or sealing and, then, I’ll tell you what you can do to help speed this process up. You will learn that there is no set time for this process and a general idea of what needs to occur will help you estimate how long this can take.

Time Variables That All Attorneys Have to Deal With

The first thing we have to understand is that we are dealing with several government agencies when we are sealing or expunging your record. These include:

  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE]
  • The State Attorney’s Office [SAO]
  • The Clerk of Court
  • The Sheriff’s Office
  • The arresting agency
  • The Court

Government agencies tend to work at their own pace. There is not a lot we can do to speed them up but we can overlap the things we need to do with each of these agencies/offices. For example, we try to request documents from the Clerk of Court at the same time we send our clients the application to fill out. We need both before we can send the application off to FDLE. By overlapping, we usually receive both back at the same time. Overlapping also works when we are in the petition phase and it always saves time.

How Long Does It Take the Clerk of Court

One of the first things we do, when we represent someone to seal or expunge a record, is obtain the required certified copies of court documents. Typically, we mail the request the same day we are hired. Most Clerk’s of Court are very responsive and we get back the documents requested within a couple weeks.

However, there have been times when the Clerk of Court simply drops the ball. Our request goes out and we do not hear back from them. For whatever reason this occurs, we then need to reach out to the Clerk’s Office and find out what has happened. Often times we will have to resend the request. This can add to the overall time to complete the process.

How Long Does It Take the State Attorney’s Office

Florida law requires that an application for a record “expungement” be signed by a representative of the SAO. Before we can send the application to the SAO we need the certified disposition from the Clerk of Court and the application back from the client.

All Expungement applications are mailed to the SAO. Their response times vary, however they generally return the application within 30 days.

Delays can occur when the SAO signs off indicating the client is not eligible to have their record expunged (when they actually are). Other delays have occurred when the SAO does not return the application timely and we are again forced to track down the assistant state attorney [ASA] assigned for this task. This can occur when ASA’s are reassigned while the application is pending.

See, Responsibilities of the SAO with Expungement Applications.

How Long Does It Take the Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Once the application is prepared with all supporting documentation, it is ready to be sent to FDLE.

FDLE processes the applications and issues a Certificate of Eligibility. The processing time with FDLE over the years has varied. Currently it is taking about 8 to 9 months.

FDLE Screenshot
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website indicating what applications are currently being processed. This image taken November 6, 2018, shows applications received in February are currently being processed.

You can check where FDLE is on the processing of applications by visiting the website expunge section.

⚖ FDLE Expunge Section

How Long Does It Take the Sheriff’s Office and the Arresting Agency

The Sheriff’s Office and the arresting agency both have to be notified that you are petitioning the court to have your record sealed or expunged. There is no timeframe for them to respond and, in fact, most do not unless they object.

Most courts, when they receive a petition to seal or expunge wait about 30-days so that any notified agencies (SAO, Sheriff, Arresting) have time to respond.

How Long Does It Take the Court

The court that receives the petition usually waits about 30-days to see if any agency is going to object.

Scheduling a hearing, if necessary, can take weeks or months depending on the court’s schedule and the SAO’s response to requested court dates.

How You Can Speed Up The Process

There are ways that you, the client, can speed up the process. Although we try and make this entire process as easy for our client’s as possible, there are still some things that the client must do.

Return All Documents You Receive From Us Promptly

Once we have been hired, we send out the Expungement or Sealing Packet, as soon as possible. Very often, we can send out the packet on the same day we are hired. However, sometimes we have to obtain the documents from the Clerk’s Office first.

You, as our client, can speed this process up by looking for the packet in your email daily. Once received, complete the packet as quickly as possible and return the documents to our office.

Make Payments of Fees and Costs As Soon As Possible When Due

We try to have the most competitive fee for expungement and sealings of criminal arrest records in Florida. We break our fee down into two payments.

The second payment is due once we are ready to petition the court. The sooner it is received the sooner the petition is filed. From the point of filing the petition we are looking at about 45 days (average) until the process is completed. Often a lot sooner.

As of now, FDLE is taking about 8-9 months to return the Certificate of Eligibility after the application is filed. This should give everyone the time necessary to save and be ready once notified.

See our fee details below.

⚖ Expungement Costs.

⚠ WARNING: Some Law Firms Will Tell You They Can Do This Faster

Some lawyers and some law firms advertise that they can complete a record expungement or sealing within 6 or 7 months. They do this because they know “time” matters to you. However, they are not telling you the truth.

Don’t Hire an Attorney Because They Say They Can Do This Faster.

As pointed out above, FDLE alone takes 8-9 months just to process the application. Be careful on who you hire. If they are not telling you the truth on how long it takes, don’t hire them.

Conclusion

Although a lot of attorney websites list how long it takes to complete a Florida record expungement or sealing, the reality is that the time will always vary. There are ways that the attorney can speed up the process (by overlapping) and there are ways that the client can help.

What you, as a person who wants a record expunged or sealed, need to take away from this is simple. Do not wait to have your record sealed or expunged. Start it before you need it. As we have shown above, the process to get this done is lengthy and there are time frames that we cannot control except by when we start.


For More Information Emailed to You

You can submit your information below and we will email you information about our record expungement and sealing services and representation. You can also go to our ⚖ Florida Expungement webpage for more details.

You will not be placed on a mailing list and we share your information with NO ONE. For more information, see our privacy policy.


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.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located in Orlando, FL. He provides legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.

Alternative Methods of Sealing Records

Many people desperately seek any method to seal their court records once it is determined that they no longer qualify to have their arrest record sealed or expunged by the typical means (sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes). This naturally turns to rule 2.420 in the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration  and section 943.0581, Florida Statutes – administrative expungement. I will explore both of these options with their pluses and minuses.

The Typical Means of Expunging – Sealing Record Are Not Available

Before we can dive into the “alternative” methods of sealing or expunging criminal records, we should first briefly explain the typical means of doing this. Under Florida law, a person who has been arrested (to include receiving a Notice to Appear) may have the opportunity to have that arrest record sealed or expunged (see, What is Expungement). To qualify a person must:

  • have never been convicted of any criminal offense,
  • have never had a previous record sealed or expunged (under typical means),
  • have had the charges against him dropped, dismissed, or never filed on (expungement), or
  • have had a “withhold of adjudication” and the charge is not prohibited (sealing).

See, Qualifying for an Expungement.

A person no longer qualifies once they have successfully had an arrest record sealed or expunged or they have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a criminal offense. See, Difference Between “Withhold” and “Adjudicated”). This problem often raises its head when a person is found guilty of a crime that requires an adjudication of guilt by law, e.g., DUI, naively pled guilty at an arraignment to a minor offense that included an adjudication of guilt (see, Criminal Case Dispositions), or have already had an arrest sealed or expunged.

The impact of a criminal record (see, What is a Background Check) often goes unnoticed for years, long after the ability to change the situation through court proceedings in the original case. People who are affected by their past are usually trying to obtain or change their employment, including seeking promotions. Other common reasons include applying to be a resident at certain apartment complexes and trying to be a chaperone for their child at a school function.

Once they realize that their criminal history is affecting them, they seek to have this minimized. They either qualify to have it sealed or expunged and go through the 8-12+ month process or they don’t qualify and they seek alternative methods.

Alternative Methods of Sealing Judicial Records

Below are alternative methods of sealing court records.

Rule 2.420

Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420 is titled “Public Access to and Protection of Judicial Branch Records.” This rule is directly governed by article I, section 24(a) of the Florida Constitution (Access to Public Records and Meetings):

Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf, except with respect to records exempted pursuant to this section or specifically made confidential by this Constitution. This section specifically includes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and each agency or department created thereunder; counties, municipalities, and districts; and each constitutional officer, board, and commission, or entity created pursuant to law or this Constitution.

As noted, there are “exempted” records. Pursuant to rule 2.420, “confidential” records are exempt and may be released “only to the persons or organizations designated by law, statute, or court order.”

Confidential information includes information that is confidential under this rule or under a court order entered pursuant to this rule.

It is important to note that exempt records are confidential except for those people and organizations designated by law, statute, and court order. This means that records deemed confidential are still accessible to specific organizations (for specific reasons).

In order to have the court deem a record confidential, it has to be established that the confidentiality is required to:

  • prevent a serious and imminent threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice;
  • protect trade secrets;
  • protect a compelling governmental interest;
  • obtain evidence to determine legal issues in a case;
  • avoid substantial injury to innocent third parties;
  • avoid substantial injury to a party by disclosure of matters protected by a common law or privacy tight not generally inherent in the specific type of proceeding sought to be closed;
  • comply with established public policy set forth in the Florida or United States Constitution or statutes or Florida rules or case law;

Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420(c)(9)(A).

The rule spells out specifically how the motion must be presented when requested civil records or when requesting criminal records to be sealed.

Drawbacks

If a record is deemed confidential pursuant to one of the reasons listed above, it is still accessible to specific entities for specific reasons. The Clerk of Court must allow access to confidential court records to persons “authorized by law.” Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.420(j)(1). This not only includes records determined to be confidential by motion but also those considered confidential by rule.

A record already deemed confidential by rule that is causing a person hardship cannot be “sealed” again to prevent this hardship. By example, Rule 2.420(d)(1)(B)(viii) specifically states that clinical records under the Baker Act are confidential. See, section 394.4615(7), Florida Statutes. However, section 394.4617(3)-(6) lists when and who may have access to it. If a person is finding a hardship because of the confidential record, then seeking to seal such record under rule 2.420 would be ineffective.

A sealed record by court order pursuant to rule 2.420 is no longer a public record and will not be posted and accessible on the Clerk of Court’s website. However, that is about all of the protections. You cannot lawfully deny that the event occurred as with the s. 943.0585-059 expungement-sealing. Moreover, the rule 2.420 sealing only applies to “court” records and extends no further. See, Rivero v. Farach, 43 F.L.W. D1091a (Fla. 3d DCA, May 16, 2018).

Possibilities

There are situations where seeking this type of relief may be positive for the person being affected by the record. First, the record sought to be sealed cannot already be deemed confidential (see above). Then the court must be convinced that the record must be sealed for one of the reasons listed in Rule 2.420(c)(9)(A).

A possible example is the case where someone (victim) seeks an injunction for protection against violence. That someone names a person as the respondent (aggressor). Once filed it becomes a public record. A name search through a Clerk of Court’s website will show that the person has been accused of a violent act.

If the alleged victim doesn’t appear at the hearing to determine its validity or is denied the relief, the “allegation” remains a public record. This can cause a hardship on the person accused in the petition. The filings in these cases are public records and it may benefit that person to try and have it sealed pursuant to rule 2.420.

The rule contemplates a variety of reasons why a record should be deemed confidential. You must follow the specific outline of how a motion presents this request.

Alternative Method of Expunging Non-Judicial Records

Section 943.0581, Florida Statutes – Administrative Expungement

This is a procedure for “expunging” an arrest record of an arrest made in error. The most obvious mistaken arrest is the mistaken identity arrest that sometimes occurs when a warrant is executed. People have been mistakenly arrested on a warrant because they have shared the same name as the person who the warrant was written for.

Many people believe that an administrative expungement applies when they have been arrested (not by mistake) when the charges have later been dropped or never even filed on. This is inaccurate even if the basis for the arrest was on a falsification. This is partly due to the remedy an administrative expungement provides (see Drawbacks, below).

There may be civil remedies that can compensate a person for false allegations that caused these damages (loss of liberty, employment, embarrassment, etc.) but that is beyond the scope of this post.

Drawbacks

The Florida administrative expungement will remove the arrest from FDLE’s criminal history. It does not remove the record from the Clerk of Court’s website (if a case was generated). To do that, you will have to follow through with a rule 2.420 sealing or use section 943.0585, Florida Statutes (expungement).

In order to have an arrest administratively expunged, the arresting agency has to agree and notify FDLE (through an application that the arresting agency submits) that the arrest was a mistake. Despite protective language within the statute, law enforcement agencies are loath to admit to any mistakes requiring additional legal steps to be taken.

Possibilities

If a mistaken arrest has occurred, you will have available the administrative expungement procedure. Typically, mistaken identities are cured once you have entered the county jail systems and fingerprints have been taken and processed. However, this process can take several days. It is imperative that you hire an attorney and file an action for the false arrest. This action will usually result in a settlement (you will not get rich) and that will provide documentation that can be used to convince the agency to apply to FDLE for the administrative expungement.

Conclusion

Neither of the above options are streamlined to be used in a casual basis. Both fall short of a complete erasure of the record. However, the administrative expungement and the judicial rule both cover a niche that can be beneficial for those people who fall within their bounds of relief.


For More Information Emailed to You

You can submit your information below and we will email you information about our record expungement and sealing services and representation. You can also go to our ⚖ Florida Expungement webpage for more details.

You will not be placed on a mailing list and we share your information with NO ONE. For more information, see our privacy policy.


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.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located in Orlando, FL. He provides legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.

An Arrest, A Background Check, Your Job

an arrest your job

Unfortunately, people often find themselves wondering what impact a recent arrest will have on their current or future employment. This usually occurs soon after the arrest occurs or, if young, years later when the impact is felt.

An “arrest” is not affected if all charges were either dropped or never filed. An arrest marks your criminal history regardless of the outcome of the case and the only legal method to reduce this impact is called “expungement,” or “sealing” the record or “non-disclosure” orders (see below).

How Does an Arrest Affect Your Job

An arrest for the common crimes, such as simple DUI or some minor misdemeanor or innocuous felony, will eventually have you thinking about how this will affect your employment. The impact can be immediate or years later.

An Arrest Will Affect Your Employment

It is not whether an arrest will affect your employment, it is to what degree will it affect your employment. The question also concerns when it will affect your current job or future jobs.

An arrest when we are young may not seem immediately devastating. The effects may only appear when you have begun your employment search years later. However, if you are already in your career field, the impact may be immediate.

Government Employment

Government employment will definitely be impacted by any arrest. Almost all government jobs will entail some kind of pre-screening (see, Level 1 and 2 Background Checks) and follow-up screenings. However, using a criminal arrest history in the hiring decision does have restrictions.

Federal law makes a distinction between the use of arrests and convictions and there are protections under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Florida state employment also has protections regarding the use of criminal arrest histories (see, Your Criminal Record and Your Job). However, in all instances a criminal record can be used as a pre-judge of character for the particular field of employment.

In other words, despite all the pretty language, an arrest is a negative mark on any government application.

Private Sector Employment

The private sector is also governed by federal regulations regarding the use of background checks for employment (and some state regulations). You should be aware of these protections, even if they are minimal.

More important is the movement to push criminal history information to the back of the hiring process so that everyone has a chance to show their qualifications and skills for a particular position (See this article from Workplace Fairness).

Specific skills, regardless of background, are also considered since certain jobs required skills that few people have. States provide re-entry services for ex-offenders however many of these services aren’t job training centers. They are just assistance until you can stand on your own feet.

Private entities solicit ex-offenders for job training (see this example) which may or may not be self-serving – however, these lists definitely point out areas where an ex-offender can look for career fields.

Bottom line for private sector jobs is whether or not you have a needed skill. There are job-training agencies out there that solicit to ex-offenders.

For example, people who own boats typically require a mechanic to maintain the boat’s motor(s). Boat owners don’t typically decide who they hire based on a background check. They just want the person to be a known good mechanic and their boat fixed.

Self Employment

Self employment is always a possibility. Professional fields, such as real estate, offer the opportunity to advance to broker status and having your own business. You don’t have to worry about getting hired when you are self employed however, you do have to be concerned with clients becoming aware of your background.

Most people who check other people’s criminal history use private companies, such as Truthfinder or BeenVerified. These companies obtain their information from government agencies such as Clerks of Court and state agencies, such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] (see below).

Since self-employed people depend heavily on their reputation, knowledge of an arrest being circulated around the community can be devastating.

Will an Arrest Show-up On My Background Check

An arrest can be the traditional handcuffs, back of the police car, trip to the jail or it can be a “notice to appear.” If anyone has ever been accused of shoplifting and been released with a piece of paper that instructed you to appear in court – that is technically an arrest.

A background check can either be a criminal history from a governmental records office or from a private “background check” company. Official government criminal histories are records received from law enforcement agencies and the courts. Private background check information is obtained through public records held by government agencies.

Before Case is Resolved

Once you have been arrested, the arrest information is suppose to be transmitted to the state agency that keeps a record of all arrests that occur in the state (which is then forwarded to the FBI). In Florida, the agency is the FDLE.

Technically, your arrest history will start as soon as the information is transmitted to that agency. This can be just days after your arrest. Jails are very good at transmitting this information.

When a person receives a Notice to Appear the state agency may not be immediately notified. However, the Clerk of Court will generate a criminal case file number within their records which is a public record.

Even if the state agency (e.g., FDLE) has no record of the arrest, the Clerk of Court will have a public record of the case which will include arrest data. Either way, private background check companies obtain data from the state agency and the clerk of court.

Moreover, the records held by the Clerks of Court are increasingly being digitized and posted online. In Florida, almost 100% of the Clerk’s of Court already have their records online and plans are underway to make access to these records easier.

Case Was Dismissed

One of the biggest misconceptions is the belief that if the charges are dropped or dismissed or not even filed then there is no arrest record. This is false. As pointed out above, the arrest history begins with the arrest. It does not get erased because the charges were not proved or dropped.

Once you have been arrested, private companies will eventually have this information and sell it to their customers. Their customers include businesses (e.g., rental management companies, employers, etc.) and individuals.

Additionally, operations such as mugshots.com and others have almost immediate access to arrest data through the jails. County Jails and Sheriff’s increasingly post arrest data online as well.

Can an Arrest Be Erased From My Record

Most states have statutory procedures to remove arrests from a criminal history. A common term for this is “expungement.” It also can be called “record sealing” and “non-disclosure” order (see What is an Expungement in Florida).

Different States, Different Laws

What term is used depends on the state where the arrest occurred. You must use the state laws where the arrest occurred unless you were arrested on an out-of-state warrant. In that situation you need to use the state laws where the crime occurred. (See, States With Expungements for more information).

You can also look up information at the Electronic Information Privacy Center [EPIC] about current laws and proposed legislation regarding disclosure of arrest information (among other issues).

For help expunging a prior arrest you need to search for a lawyer that practices expungement law in the state where the arrest occurred.

Florida Criminal Arrest Record Expungement and Sealing

Florida has an extensive expungement and sealing laws. You must qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. If you qualify, the procedure takes roughly 8-12 months to complete. Understand that this is the first step to moving past a criminal record. Many people have the misconception that this procedure is a magic bullet. It is not, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

Once Your Record is Expunged

You need to know exactly what the expungement or sealing has done to take full advantage of the benefits. There are still a few things that you should do to make sure that your arrest record does not affect you in the future. Make sure you discuss this with your attorney at the time you hire him/her and once the process on their end is complete.


For More Information Emailed to You

You can submit your information below and we will email you information about our record expungement and sealing services and representation. You can also go to our ⚖ Florida Expungement webpage for more details.

You will not be placed on a mailing list and we share your information with NO ONE. For more information, see our privacy policy.


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.

has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995. His office is Eric J. Dirga, PA, located in Orlando, FL. He provides legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.