ERIC J DIRGA, PA

What To Do When Involved in a Car Accident

  • Traffic Accidents happen everyday.
  • The Registered Owner of the vehicle is responsible.
  • You Must Notify the damaged property’s owner.
  • Accident Tickets can be challenged.

Did I just got in a Traffic Accident?

If a traffic accident occurs and there has been a death or serious bodily injury you have to remain at the scene, render aid, and call the police and emergency response personnel (911). If you don’t bad things will happen.

Let’s say you are in the typical accident, there is damage to property, and it is too early to tell if anyone is injured because you are all walking around filled with adrenaline. If neither car is operable you will be staying around.

I damaged someone’s property!

So you have damaged someone’s property in a traffic accident, in this case their car but it could be a mailbox or some other property. The law (section 316.061, Fla. Stat.) requires that you stop and remain at the scene. If the vehicles are obstructing traffic you have to do you best to SAFELY move the vehicles out of the path of traffic (section 316.071, Fla. Stat.). If you alone cannot move the vehicle then you must try and solicit help from others. Only do this if it is safe. I would suggest taking pictures first but don’t wait too long – those people you are blocking want to get to where they are going now and you are inconveniencing them.

Vehicles are moved – Can I go now?

After the traffic accident you have moved the vehicles and traffic is moving smoothly. What do you have to do now? According to the law (section 316.062, Fla. Stat. if your checking) you have to exchange information with the other driver or property owner (in case you ran over his mailbox). The information consists of the following:

  • Your legal name, not one made-up. (Section 316.067, Fla. Stat. makes it a crime to deliberately lie to the police in this situation.)
  • Your correct address.
  • The registration number of the vehicle you were driving.
  • And, if requested, present your driver’s license or permit to drive.

That is all to the other person(s) involved in the crash. When law enforcement arrives you will also have to give all that information to the police (and they will request your driver’s license). Additionally, the police will require that you share your insurance information (section 316.070, Fla. Stat.) with the other parties and with him.

Hey, no police arrived? What now?

If you have shared all the above information with the other people involved in the traffic accident you should be okay to leave unless there has been a death or injury or the property damage is $500 or more (section 316.065, Fla. Stat.). If there was a death, injury, $500 or more in property damage, or you cannot share the information with those others involved in the accident (for whatever reason) then you must immediately go to the nearest police agency and report the crash (or call using your cell phone).

I don’t want to talk to the police ’cause they may arrest me for a traffic accident!

Well, that may seem like a valid reason to stay quiet however, during a traffic accident investigation, you are required to cooperate fully with law enforcement and report the traffic accident. They have a lot to put in their report (section 316.066, Fla. Stat.). Nothing said during that accident investigation can be used against you in a criminal case (or traffic hearing for that matter).

If, however, the police say something like “I’m concluding my accident investigation and now I am starting my criminal investigation…” and then they read you your rights – that’s the signal to be quiet. You probably won’t but that is the time to invoke your right to remain silent. I suggest saying “Okay, I will invoke my right to remain silent and want an attorney present on my behalf during any further questioning of me.”

Hey, I damaged some property but no one is around to give my information to!

You hit a parked car and no one is around to exchange information with. Can you just leave? No, they have thought of that possibility too (section 316.063, Fla. Stat.). In a case where the property is unattended you have to  do the following to report the traffic accident:

  • Immediately stop – suppress that urge to drive away!
  • Try to locate the owner of the property (and if located exchange the information noted above).
  • If not located, securely and conspicuously place on the damaged property the information required above.
  • Finally, you have to call the police and report the accident. If you don’t they will hunt you down and arrest you for leaving.

Hey, I was knocked out and taken to the hospital. I can’t report this or exchange information!

Yes, they have thought of that too. And you are right – you do not have to report the traffic accident or exchange information in that scenario. Odds are the police will find you and get the information at that time. If there were other people in your car during the accident that are not injured they will be required to exchange the information and cooperate with the accident investigation.

If there were no others in the car, the police did not find you, then within 10-days of the accident the owner of the vehicle (that could be you) has to report the accident. If you are the owner and due to the accident still cannot report the accident within 10-days you will have to report it at your earliest ability.

Today, that rarely happens. The police will find you at the hospital and take care of that requirement.


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 traffic issues throughout the state of Florida.

The Application to Expunge and the Prosecutor

certificate of eligibility application

This will be the first in a series of blogs to address the key player’s roles in the Florida expungement process. This post will address the role of the reviewing prosecutor when he/she receives a Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] application to expunge (the application is to seal or expunge but is not required to be signed by a reviewing prosecutor if the applicant is only seeking to seal their record). In order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to expunge a record, the State Attorney or Statewide Prosecutor must sign off on the application.

Application to Expunge Florida Record

In order for an applicant (a defendant seeking to have his or her record expunged) to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to Expunge from FDLE the application must be signed by the State Attorney’s Office. The signature is not required if the applicant is seeking to seal his or her record.

Florida Administrative Code 11C-7.006

Florida Administrative Code 11C-7.006 simply indicates that “[t]he appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor should complete section B of the Application for Certification of Eligibility and have it certified.” This is typically delegated to a reviewing prosecutor within the office.

The Application to Seal or Expunge a Record

The application instructs the reviewing prosecutor to sign indicating that the applicant is eligible to have his record expunged under the following circumstances:

  1. An indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case; OR
  2. An indictment, information, or other charging document, if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction; OR
  3. (a) None of the charges (acts) related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application for certificate of eligibility to expunge pertains resulted in an adjudication of guilt or of delinquency; AND
    (b) The record of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application for certificate of eligibility to expunge pertains has been sealed for at least 10 years; AND
    (c) None of the charges (if any) for which adjudication of guilt or of delinquency was withheld relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, 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.

Signing Does Not Indicate the Position of the State Attorney

By indicating with signature that the applicant is eligible based on the above criteria, the application specifically states that the prosecutor’s signature “does not imply that the applicant has satisfied all other statutory eligibility criteria, or that this Office would not oppose a petition to expunge the above-referenced case.” In other words, the processing of the application is strictly administrative and does not reflect the position of the State Attorney’s Office.

Indicating Ineligibility Based on Statutory Requirements

The reviewing prosecutor can also sign the application indicating that the applicant is not eligible to have his or her record expunged due to the following criteria:

  • One or more of the charges (acts) related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application for certificate of eligibility to expunge pertains resulted in an adjudication of guilt or of delinquency;
  • OR, BECAUSE OF ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
    • The record of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application for certificate of eligibility to expunge pertains has not been sealed for at least 10 years;
    • One or more of the charges for which an adjudication of guilt or of delinquency was withheld relate to a to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, 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;
    • Records available to this Office disclose some other ground of statutory ineligibility (e.g., adjudication of guilt in a different case; previous expunction or sealing).

Signing the application indicating that the applicant is not eligible to expunge is based on statutory requirements. Regardless of how the prosecutor signs off, FDLE will again review the eligibility of the applicant when it receives the application.

Role of Reviewing Prosecutor

The role of the reviewing prosecutor is simple. Either sign the application indicating that the applicant is eligible or that the applicant is ineligible based on statutory criteria. It cannot be based on arbitrary reasons. The reviewing prosecutor should return the application to the applicant in a reasonable amount of time (applicant is responsible for providing a self-addressed stamped envelope).

Application for Certificate of Eligibility is Not Void if Ineligible to Expunge

If the reviewing prosecutor indicates that the applicant is not eligible to have his or her record expunged and the applicant is otherwise qualified to have the record sealed – the application itself is still good. The applicant can send it along with the supporting documentation to FDLE in order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to Seal the record.


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 representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.

How to Get Your Free Florida Record Expungement

fre florida record expungement

You have a record for an arrest from a few years back. 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 want it expunged.

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?

Unfortunately, even if you do this yourself, there are some costs that, if everything goes smoothly, will run you upwards of $250.


Not So Free Record Expungement

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. You need a step-by-step guide for this because you won’t get your questions answered for free by a lawyer or correctly by anyone else.

No worries. I wrote a book that will take you step by step through the process of expunging or sealing your record in Florida. For the $24, it is worth the price if you are seriously considering doing this yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide to Expunging Your Florida Record


The Mandatory Court Fees

All courts will require either a filing fee (paid when the petition is filed) or court costs (after the petition has been granted). There is at least one county that has a filing fee and court costs.

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.

Other Required Expenses

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:

  • write your petition, affidavits, etc.
  • learn how to eFile your petition and supporting documents to the court.

Along with the other costs (noted above) you may also have to prepare for a hearing. There is stress involved with appearing before the court and, if your petition is denied, an appeal can cost thousands of dollars.

Grand Total

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).

The problem most people run into when trying to do this on their own is when they have a question. The Clerk of Court isn’t suppose to give you legal advice (but they do, often with disastrous results). The State Attorney won’t – they are the party you are going against. FDLE can’t either. Only an attorney can give you legal advice and they won’t advise you without getting paid because it subjects them to liability – and liability costs money.

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 representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.

Expungements: No Prior Adjudication Exception

adjudication exception

It is accepted that the Florida Law of sealing or expunging a criminal record requires that the person seeking such relief has never been convicted of committing a crime. In legal terms this means you can never have been adjudicated guilty or adjudicated delinquent of a criminal act. This can be confusing because in Florida you can be “found” guilty but not convicted (see, what does convicted mean in Florida). Here we are only addressing “convictions” (adjudicated guilty as an adult or adjudicated delinquent as a child) and the adjudication exception to this blanket rule of no prior convictions. The rule is consistent regarding convictions as an adult. However, there are some adjudication exceptions for some “convictions” (adjudications of delinquency) as a juvenile.

When Being Adjudicated (Delinquent) is Not a Bar

The terminology for a conviction as a juvenile is “adjudicated delinquent” or “adjudication of delinquency.” In sections 943.0585(2)(d) (pertaining to expungements) and 943.059(2)(c) (pertaining to sealings), Florida Statutes, there is an exception for juvenile convictions being a bar to qualifying for a record expungement or sealing. Specifically, each section states that the person seeking such relief has “never been adjudicated guilty (as an adult) or been adjudicated delinquent (as a juvenile) for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).”

A Misdemeanor Specified in Section 943.051(3)(b)

As written, sections 943.0585(2)(d) and 943.059(2)(c), Florida Statutes, would allow a person with an adjudication of delinquency for a misdemeanor, not found in s. 943.051(3)(b), Fla. Stat., to still qualify to have a criminal arrest record sealed or expunged. The list of misdemeanor offenses found in this section are:

  1. Assault, as defined in s. 784.011.
  2. Battery, as defined in s. 784.03.
  3. Carrying a concealed weapon, as defined in s. 790.01(1).
  4. Unlawful use of destructive devices or bombs, as defined in s. 790.1615(1).
  5. Neglect of a child, as defined in s. 827.03(1)(e).
  6. Assault or battery on a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or other specified officers, as defined in s. 784.07(2)(a) and (b).
  7. Open carrying of a weapon, as defined in s. 790.053.
  8. Exposure of sexual organs, as defined in s. 800.03.
  9. Unlawful possession of a firearm, as defined in s. 790.22(5).
  10. Petit theft, as defined in s. 812.014(3).
  11. Cruelty to animals, as defined in s. 828.12(1).
  12. Arson, as defined in s. 806.031(1).
  13. Unlawful possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property, as provided in s. 790.115.

Any other misdemeanor offense would fall under the adjudication exception.

Non-Specified Misdemeanors Adjudication Exception

Offenses often charged against juveniles, that are not on this list, include criminal mischief, graffiti, and trespass, just to name a few. Typically, the Juvenile Justice System does not adjudicate children for these offenses to begin with, so applying this section would be rare. However, for the practitioner and the person seeking relief, this adjudication exception exists.

Although the adjudication of delinquency may not be a bar to qualifying, the person seeking relief still cannot seal or expunge any arrest that resulted in the adjudication of delinquency. It is simply not a bar for qualifying to seal or expunge a different arrest.

Sealing Record With Adjudication of Delinquency: Possible Scenario

A possible scenario could be as follows:

An adult wants to seal a petit theft charge he received at age 23. He had the adjudication withheld. His prior history includes an adjudication of delinquency for criminal mischief (misdemeanor) when he was 13 years of age. He could apply to FDLE and should obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to seal the petit theft arrest.

This would be rare, as mentioned above, since most juvenile courts would not have adjudicated a 13 year old of misdemeanor criminal mischief without a prolonged history. However, the possibility of this adjudication exception should be investigated in order to assist a person who wants to seal or expunge a criminal arrest record.

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 representation for sealing and expunging criminal records throughout the state of Florida.