ERIC J DIRGA, PA

Your Criminal Record and Your Job

criminal background and future jobs

A lot of people are concerned about how a criminal history record will affect them as it relates to their employment. Can they be fired, will they lose the promotion, what can they do to hide their criminal record from their employer.

Caveat Regarding This Post

This post only deals with Florida state government employees. The laws only apply to what government can do to government employees. They cannot tell what private companies can do to their employees that have a criminal record. In previous posts I talked about the Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks. You should read up on that when you get the chance.

The Impact of a Criminal History Record on Your Employment

I’m an attorney and I help people expunge their criminal record. That means I help people hide their criminal record. The biggest concern I get is how a criminal record will impact their employment. Hopefully, this post will shed some light on this topic.

Florida Law and Your Job

The Florida Statutes (that can be found online) actually have some protections for people who have a criminal record. Below I go through the pertinent ones with comment.

Convicted or Not Convicted

I use the term “criminal record” or “criminal history record” while the statutes use the word “conviction.” A strict interpretation of the word “conviction” under Florida law means that a court found a person guilty of a crime and adjudicated the person guilty. Florida law allows a court to find someone guilty of a crime and “withhold” the adjudication of guilt and this is typically not a conviction.

However, often times the legislature redefines the term “conviction” within specific statutes to include instances where a court “withheld” the adjudication. An example of this is the following language:

“Convicted” means a finding of guilt or the acceptance of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, in any federal or state court or a court in any other country, without regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction of the case. Section 633.412(2), Florida Statutes (as it relates to firefighter qualifications).

Therefore, I use criminal history record or simply criminal history, pointing out that any arrest on your criminal history record could impact your ability to obtain a state issued license or a state, county, or municipal job.

Specific Jobs, Specific Statutes

Note also that specific jobs may have specific statutes that govern the employment requirements and restrictions. Firefighters are an example of this, as noted above. Unfortunately, I cannot include all these statutes within this post. In the future I may focus on specific employment areas, such as Teacher Qualifications that I previously wrote about.

Florida Statutes Regarding Employment

I will be reviewing the following Florida Statutes sections; 112.011, 125.5801, 166.0442, and 775.16. My comments are in normal text.

112.011 Disqualification from licensing and public employment based on criminal conviction.—
(1)(a) Except as provided in s. 775.16 (see below), a person may not be disqualified from employment by the state, any of its agencies or political subdivisions, or any municipality solely because of a prior conviction for a crime. However, a person may be denied employment by the state, any of its agencies or political subdivisions, or any municipality by reason of the prior conviction for a crime if the crime was a felony or first-degree misdemeanor and directly related to the position of employment sought.

The language of this section needs to be clarified because it can easily be misconstrued. The first takeaway that you must understand is the use of the phrases “may not be disqualified” and “may be denied.” An initial reading of this section may lead you to believe that a prior conviction is no bar to employment. However, all this section is really saying is that a past arrest cannot be the sole reason for barring employment. The language “directly relating to the position of employment sought” is telling us that other statutes that relate to the specific employment or license sought will be the authority on the standards for employment in that specific field.

Second degree misdemeanors would seem to not be a bar to employment, but again, specific statutes may include them.

(b) Except as provided in s. 775.16, a person may be denied a license, permit, or certification to pursue, practice, or engage in an occupation, trade, vocation, profession, or business by reason of the prior conviction for a crime if the crime was a felony or first-degree misdemeanor that is directly related to the standards determined by the regulatory authority to be necessary and reasonably related to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare for the specific occupation, trade, vocation, profession, or business for which the license, permit, or certificate is sought.

Here the statute is clarifying the fact that specific employment may have specific standards that will pre-empt this section. This means your criminal history record can be used to prevent your employment or licensing in specified areas. See below regarding the reference to s. 775.16, Fla. Stat.

(c) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a state agency may not deny an application for a license, permit, certificate, or employment based solely on the applicant’s lack of civil rights. However, this paragraph does not apply to applications for a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm under chapter 790.

This subsection simply points out that the lack of civil rights (felony were the court adjudicated the defendant guilty) cannot be the sole basis for barring employment.

(2)(a) This section does not apply to any law enforcement or correctional agency.

(b) This section does not apply to the employment practices of any fire department relating to the hiring of firefighters.

(c) This section does not apply to the employment practices of any county or municipality relating to the hiring of personnel for positions deemed to be critical to security or public safety pursuant to ss. 125.5801 and 166.0442.

Some exceptions but not all. Seeking a state issued license in any field should be researched beyond this section.

(3) Any complaint concerning the violation of this section shall be adjudicated in accordance with the procedures set forth in chapter 120 for administrative and judicial review.

This just tells us that cases arising from this section are handled under administrative law procedures.

History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 71-115; s. 1, ch. 73-109; s. 20, ch. 81-24; s. 30, ch. 88-122; s. 1, ch. 90-266; s. 678, ch. 95-147; s. 3, ch. 2002-169; s. 3, ch. 2011-207; s. 90, ch. 2013-183.

125.5801 Criminal history record checks for certain county employees and appointees.—
(1) Notwithstanding chapter 435, a county may require, by ordinance, state and national criminal history screening for:

(a) Any position of county employment or appointment, whether paid, unpaid, or contractual, which the governing body of the county finds is critical to security or public safety;

(b) Any private contractor, employee of a private contractor, vendor, repair person, or delivery person who is subject to licensing or regulation by the county; or
(c) Any private contractor, employee of a private contractor, vendor, repair person, for-hire chauffeur, or delivery person who has direct contact with individual members of the public or access to any public facility or publicly operated facility in such a manner or to such an extent that the governing body of the county finds that preventing unsuitable persons from having such contact or access is critical to security or public safety.

(2) The ordinance must require each person applying for, or continuing employment or appointment in, any such position, applying for initial or continuing licensing or regulation, or having such contact or access to be fingerprinted. The fingerprints shall be submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement for a state criminal history record check and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. The information obtained from the criminal history record checks conducted pursuant to the ordinance may be used by the county to determine a person’s eligibility for such employment or appointment and to determine a person’s eligibility for continued employment or appointment. This section is not intended to preempt or prevent any other background screening, including, but not limited to, criminal history record checks, which a county may lawfully undertake.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2002-169; s. 1, ch. 2013-116.

Certain public employment requires a criminal history check. I discuss this in my post regarding Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks. Chapter 435 governs these background checks. This tells us that a county can require criminal history background checks that the county finds “is critical to security or public safety.” The standard for what is critical to security or public safety is left to the county to determine.

166.0442 Criminal history record checks for certain municipal employees and appointees.—
(1) Notwithstanding chapter 435, a municipality may require, by ordinance, state and national criminal history screening for:
(a) Any position of municipal employment or appointment, whether paid, unpaid, or contractual, which the governing body of the municipality finds is critical to security or public safety;
(b) Any private contractor, employee of a private contractor, vendor, repair person, or delivery person who is subject to licensing or regulation by the municipality; or
(c) Any private contractor, employee of a private contractor, vendor, repair person, for-hire chauffeur, or delivery person who has direct contact with individual members of the public or access to any public facility or publicly operated facility in such a manner or to such an extent that the governing body of the municipality finds that preventing unsuitable persons from having such contact or access is critical to security or public safety.

(2) The ordinance must require each person applying for, or continuing employment or appointment in, any such position, applying for initial or continuing licensing or regulation, or having such contact or access to be fingerprinted. The fingerprints shall be submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement for a state criminal history record check and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. The information obtained from the criminal history record checks conducted pursuant to the ordinance may be used by the municipality to determine a person’s eligibility for such employment or appointment and to determine a person’s eligibility for continued employment or appointment. This section is not intended to preempt or prevent any other background screening, including, but not limited to, criminal history background checks, that a municipality may lawfully undertake.
History.—s. 2, ch. 2002-169; s. 2, ch. 2013-116.

This is similar to the above noted section except it applies to municipalities.

775.16 Drug offenses; additional penalties.—
In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person who has been convicted of sale of or trafficking in, or conspiracy to sell or traffic in, a controlled substance under chapter 893, if such offense is a felony, or who has been convicted of an offense under the laws of any state or country which, if committed in this state, would constitute the felony of selling or trafficking in, or conspiracy to sell or traffic in, a controlled substance under chapter 893, is:
(1) Disqualified from applying for employment by any agency of the state, unless:
(a) The person has completed all sentences of imprisonment or supervisory sanctions imposed by the court, by the Florida Commission on Offender Review, or by law; or
(b) The person has complied with the conditions of subparagraphs 1. and 2. which shall be monitored by the Department of Corrections while the person is under any supervisory sanctions.

Simply put, an offense for selling or trafficking (possessing an amount set by statute) on a person’s background will require that all court conditions be completed before that person can apply for employment (so long as this background is not prohibited by a more specific statute).

The person under supervision may:
1. Seek evaluation and enrollment in, and once enrolled maintain enrollment in until completion, a drug treatment and rehabilitation program which is approved by the Department of Children and Families, unless it is deemed by the program that the person does not have a substance abuse problem. The treatment and rehabilitation program may be specified by:
a. The court, in the case of court-ordered supervisory sanctions;
b. The Florida Commission on Offender Review, in the case of parole, control release, or conditional release; or
c. The Department of Corrections, in the case of imprisonment or any other supervision required by law.

2. Submit to periodic urine drug testing pursuant to procedures prescribed by the Department of Corrections. If the person is indigent, the costs shall be paid by the Department of Corrections.

(2) Disqualified from applying for a license, permit, or certificate required by any agency of the state to practice, pursue, or engage in any occupation, trade, vocation, profession, or business, unless:
(a) The person has completed all sentences of imprisonment or supervisory sanctions imposed by the court, by the Florida Commission on Offender Review, or by law;
(b) The person has complied with the conditions of subparagraphs 1. and 2. which shall be monitored by the Department of Corrections while the person is under any supervisory sanction. If the person fails to comply with provisions of these subparagraphs by either failing to maintain treatment or by testing positive for drug use, the department shall notify the licensing, permitting, or certifying agency, which may refuse to reissue or reinstate such license, permit, or certification. The licensee, permittee, or certificate holder under supervision may:
1. Seek evaluation and enrollment in, and once enrolled maintain enrollment in until completion, a drug treatment and rehabilitation program which is approved or regulated by the Department of Children and Families, unless it is deemed by the program that the person does not have a substance abuse problem. The treatment and rehabilitation program may be specified by:
a. The court, in the case of court-ordered supervisory sanctions;
b. The Florida Commission on Offender Review, in the case of parole, control release, or conditional release; or
c. The Department of Corrections, in the case of imprisonment or any other supervision required by law.
2. Submit to periodic urine drug testing pursuant to procedures prescribed by the Department of Corrections. If the person is indigent, the costs shall be paid by the Department of Corrections; or

(c) The person has successfully completed an appropriate program under the Correctional Education Program.

Starting with subsection (2) above, a person must complete all sanctions/requirements of the court for being found guilty of selling or trafficking in (possessing an amount set by statute) before he/she can apply for a trade license.

The provisions of this section do not apply to any of the taxes, fees, or permits regulated, controlled, or administered by the Department of Revenue in accordance with the provisions of s. 213.05.
History.—s. 2, ch. 90-266; s. 21, ch. 92-310; s. 13, ch. 95-325; s. 292, ch. 99-8; s. 296, ch. 2014-19; s. 14, ch. 2014-191.

After a review of these statutes, it seems clear that the language prevents public entities from barring employment solely on the basis of a prior arrest and finding of guilt. However, other statutes that address specific types of employment, e.g., teaching, firefighting, law enforcement, will control and have priority in the employment decision process.

Language Can Be Misleading to Layperson

The language of these statutes can be misleading to the layperson who is seeking employment and who has a criminal history record. It is therefore important to understand that state issued licenses typically have their own statutes governing the requirements for issuing the license. Additionally, employment with a state, county, or municipality may require a criminal history background check based on the discretion of those governmental entities.

How Does This Affect Expunging or Sealing

How does this affect a person’s decision whether or not to expunge or seal their arrest record? Often times, people seeking to expunge or seal their arrest record do not disclose to their attorney that they are seeking a license or employment. When the expungement or sealing is completed they then find out that it has had no effect in their pursuits. This can lead to some arguments with their attorney (as to why they paid to have their record expunged or sealed).

It should be asked of all potential clients what the purpose is for their desire to have their record expunged or sealed. It should also be disclosed that the expungement or sealing of their record may not be the cure that they seek (see Entitled Entities on FDLE’s website). However, it should also be pointed out that expunging or sealing their record should be done regardless of their current situation due to the time it takes to complete and protections it does offer even if it means the person may have to seek a different vocation.

Additional Information

An Arrest, Background Check, and Your Job

The Effect of a Pardon


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.

“Relates To” – The Latest Expungement Objection

relates to

The latest expungement objection (more specifically toward the sealing of records) has to do with the statutory language (that can be found in both ss. 943.0585 and 943.059, Fla. Stats.); “A criminal history record that relates to a violation of…[.]” Prosecutors (and judges) are now arguing that even if they drop, orally amend, or otherwise modify the original charges, if a person was originally charged with a prohibited offense then they are prohibited from sealing their arrest.

This was first raised not by the prosecution but by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE]. FDLE refused to issue a Certificate of Eligibility because, in their minds, the offense the defendant admitted to was “related to” (but was not) the initial charge which were prohibited by statute.

Lazard v. Florida, 229 So.3d 439 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017)

In Lazard v. State, 229 So.3d 439 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017), the appellant was denied a Certificate of Eligibility to have his record sealed. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] originally denied the Certificate of Eligibility because FDLE claimed the charge “related to” an offense prohibited from being sealed.

The Appellant was originally charged (by Information) with Aggravated Child Abuse, a crime specifically prohibited from being sealed. Ultimately, the State agreed that the appellant could plea to the offense of Contributing to the Dependency of a Child, a misdemeanor (not specifically prohibited by statute). The State did not file an amended Information setting forth facts about the offense of contributing to the dependency of a minor. Id., footnote 1.

Several years later the appellant applied for a Certificate of Eligibility from the FDLE. He was denied the certificate. FDLE’s explanation was that his criminal history related to a prohibited offense.

Appellant filed a motion to compel which was denied by the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court’s reasoning was that the appellant had pled to a charge that “relates to” an act of domestic violence. From this ruling the appeal was initiated.

The District Court Ruling

The District Court made a specific ruling on when FDLE must issue a Certificate of Eligibility. Citing section 943.059(2), Florida Statutes, the Court pointed out the clear language of the statute. FDLE “shall issue” a certificate of eligibility so long as the applicant follows subsections (a) thru (f). If an applicant complied with the statute, FDLE must issue the certificate.

That part of the ruling really didn’t change much, except maybe to temper FDLE’s enthusiasm to make prophylactic legal objections outside of the courtroom. However, the reason for the initial denial by FDLE of the appellant’s certificate had been raised and will lead more prosecutors to using the “relates to” objection in the future.

But there are problems with this…

“A criminal history record that ‘relates to’ a violation of…”

Both the expungement statute (s. 943.0585, Fla. Stat.) and the sealing statute (s. 943.059, Fla. Stat.) have the identical language that this new objection surrounds. Specifically:

A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, former s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be expunged, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, the offense as a delinquent act.

-Section 943.0585, Florida Statutes, dealing with the expungement of records.

A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, former s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be sealed, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing the offense as a delinquent act.

-Section 943.059, Florida Statutes, dealing with the sealing of records.

The Argument and Absurd Results

The logical thought process that a lesser charge someone enters a plea to “relates to” the original charge he was arrested for makes sense – in one respect. The defendant would not have been found guilty of the lesser charge had he or she not first been arrested or charged for the higher charge.

Anyone who has practice criminal law knows that a police report is often embellished and incomplete and overcharged. Prior to a trial, the relationship between the police report (or the charging document based on the police report) and what the defendant ultimately takes responsibility for is, most often, speculative after the fact.

One of the best and most common examples of this is the often mistakenly charged “Burglary of a Dwelling” offense (prohibited from being sealed) that turns into a simple trespass. Does the trespass “relate to” the burglary of a dwelling? Should a person seeking to seal his arrest record where he was ultimately found guilty of trespass be denied because he was arrested for burglary?

The other problem is over-charging. It is law enforcement that decides what will show up first on a person’s arrest record. An arrest record begins with the arrest. A person arrested for “Burglary of a Dwelling” will have an arrest record starting with a date of arrest for a burglary, not a trespass. It is not modified to show the outcome of the criminal case. Whether it was reduced, dropped, or never filed on will only appear at the bottom, in some acronym language, if at all.

The Point is for a Second Chance

The original point of sections 943.0585 (expungement) and 943.059 (sealing) were to give people a second chance. Today, the purpose is two-fold. In the past the protection, which allowed for denial of the arrest, would have been enough. Today, with the advent of the Information Age, the protection is to also remove the blemish from the internet record.

It helps no one to have people pay for an over-charged offense, that potentially enforces a barrier to employment, promotion, or any type of financial advancement, for a lifetime. We all do better when we collectively all do better. By allowing a legal method for removing an arrest record after the person has paid their “debt to society” not only makes sense, it is just.

What You Must Do to Protect Your Client

After the Lazard case, it would seem that a defendant should use all methods to protect him or herself when coming to a resolution. Amending a prohibited offense to a lesser crime that can be sealed has been the first step. Now, an oral amendment by the Office of the State Attorney may not be enough.

Physically amending the information, spelling out only the elements of the lesser offense may be required (and is the best option for serious offenses). Unfortunately, we all know that would mean extra work for the prosecution and they are already swamped. Asking for this “effort” is necessary for serious crimes but may be impractical for “common” crimes (I’ll leave that to your imaginations).

Having the prosecutor, at the time of the oral amendment, state on-the-record that his or her office will not object to a subsequent request to seal the record (provided the defendant otherwise qualifies) may be the best option. I would also ask that it be annotated on the defendant’s disposition.


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.

Expunging a Sealed Record

Expunging the Sealed Record: Florida Expungements

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

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 online in Orlando, FL. He provides legal representation for expungement and sealing of records throughout the state of Florida.

Erase Your Record*

Seal or Expunge

The Do-It-Yourself Florida Record Expungement Book

I have been sealing and expunging Florida criminal records for over twenty years. I have always tried to provide a good service at a reasonable price. I know that what I do is not rocket science (seal or expunge). I also know that, for me, sealing or expunging a record has become very easy because of repetition. I have sealed or expunged so many records that the process has been burned into my memory.

The Do-It-Yourself Person; No Lawyer Required

One of the things that concerned me was all the confusing information on the web that led so many do-it-yourself people into trouble. A simple search reveals information from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE], many Clerk of Court websites, and even some State Attorney websites that purport to provide information to help you seal or expunge your record.

Non-Lawyer Websites Are Helpful But Can Be Confusing

Some of these sites provide good information. For example, some Clerk of Court websites actually provide “approved” forms – saving people the headache of having to create them with a word processor. Some just provide links to FDLE’s website.

Misleading Limited Information

The concern is that by providing some information, a person trying to seal or expunge their own record may think that they can talk to someone from the Clerk’s Office and obtain more useful information and answers to their questions. This is a big problem and a big mistake. First, personnel working for the Clerk of Court cannot give legal advice. Only licensed attorneys can give legal advice. Despite this, people receive legal advice from these entities and, in my experience, it has always been bad.

My Example of Misadvice

I was recently told that I could not seal an arrest by the clerk who answered the phone when I called. I did not even ask the clerk a direct question but was freely told it couldn’t be done. He was absolutely wrong. It didn’t bother me because I knew the law and that was not the reason for my call. However, I thought about the person who calls that is trying to seal or expunge their own record. Someone in that position could hear this and simply give up.

There Should Be A Book To Help People

erase your record - book title

In 2018 I wrote a book to specifically help people who were trying to expunge or seal their own Florida record. It was inspired by the fact that I knew a lot of people were doing this and I was often hired to help them finish the project. Now, people in this situation (and those just beginning) can simply buy this book and follow the step-by step guide to completion.


Seal or Expunge Single Misdemeanor Arrest

It is written from the perspective of a person with a single misdemeanor arrest. It can be helpful for people with multiple arrests or a felony arrest however I encourage those people to first consult with a lawyer first.

Cheap, Helpful, and Bailout Information

The book is relatively cheap, is filled with helpful information, and – if the going gets too tough – it has useful “bailout” information to help you decide if it is time to talk to a lawyer. This is not rocket science and no one should be fooled into paying too much for this service – especially when, with a little effort and determination, you can probably do this yourself.

Eric J. Dirga, P.A.

Attorney Eric J. Dirga has been sealing and expunging criminal arrest records since the late ’90s. He has provided this service to hundreds of people and continues to help people clear their record. He is available as a speaker and will talk to anyone who will listen about the importance of putting a youthful mistake in the past for a better tomorrow.


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.


*”Erase Your Record” is the property of Dirga Products, LLC.