Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Florida record expungements and sealings. If you do not find your answers, contact me.
Florida Expungement Questions (and Answers)
Florida has two procedures – expunging a record and sealing a record – the process is similar. Any differences between the two I will point out in my answers.
Can I Have My Florida Record Expunged?
Florida provides a statute that allows you to expunge or seal your record if you qualify. The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and Administrative Code provide how this is done and what must happen if ordered.
Can I expunge an arrest that occurred in Florida but I live elsewhere?
Yes. You do not have to live in the State of Florida to have a criminal arrest record sealed or expunged that occurred in Florida. This happens quite often. Millions of people each year visit Florida. Some get arrested while visiting and then return home. Even if you lived here when you were arrested but have since moved out-of-the-state. All you need to do is call us to get started.
Can I Expunge My Florida Record For Free?
You cannot seal or expunge your record for free. There are costs involved even if you do not hire a lawyer.
How much does it cost to have your criminal record expunged in Florida?
There are fixed costs that are required to be paid for both record expungements and sealings. These include:
- the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE] fee (currently $75),
- the cost to obtain certified copies of documents that you will need,
- notary fees (for the affidavit),
- the filing fee or clerk fee (when the case is filed or done), and
- and legal fees, if you decide to hire a lawyer.
Do I need a lawyer to expunge my record in Florida?
The quick answer is no. We are all allowed to represent ourselves in court. The benefit of hiring a lawyer is that you do not have to worry about learning how to do this without making mistakes – especially if time is of the essence.
Can I Pay More to Get an Expungement Done Faster?
NO. Do not pay a high lawyer fee thinking:
- it will get done faster or
- because your record is a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
Look for experience and a competitive price structure. We have been involved in expunging and sealing Florida records since 1997. See next question…
How long does it take to get a record expunged in Florida
The answer varies but currently it is taking between 8 to 12 months to get an expungement or sealing done in Florida today. It depends on many factors including:
- How fast you complete the Florida Expungement Packet or Sealing Packet that I send you.
- Response time for returning the application from the State Attorney’s Office (skipped if sealing record, see Certificate of Eligibility Application).
- Response time of FDLE in processing the application.
- How long the court gives the State Attorney to respond to the petition.
- Whether the Court will require a hearing.
- How quickly a hearing can be set.
- How fast the Clerk of Court processes the order.
There are other factors but those listed above are the most significant ones.
For more detailed information, see, ⚖ How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Record in Florida (Blog Post)
How long does it take for your record to clear after the expungement or sealing is ordered?
Once the petition to seal or expunge your arrest is granted the Clerk of Court must follow their procedure and follow the administrative code. This requires them to:
- remove information in their systems,
- forward a copy of the order to all required agencies.
Once those agencies receive the order they must:
- seal or expunge the information in their system,
- forward the order to any agencies with whom they have shared your information,
- those agencies must repeat this.
How long all this takes is unclear. Once the judge signs the order and any outstanding court fees have been paid, the arrest is officially sealed/expunged.
Where can I find the Florida expungement statute?
You can look up any Florida statute on the online Florida statutes or you can go to my Legal References page to find the expungement and sealing statutes and the administrative code sections that pertain to expunging or sealing your record.
How Can I Qualify to Have My Arrest Record Expunged?
Qualifying is fairly easy to understand. Depending on how your case was resolved will determine if you can seal it or expunge it. First, to qualify you must:
- Never have been convicted of a criminal offense, anywhere.
- Your case must have been dropped or dismissed to expunge it.
- Your case must have had the adjudication withheld to seal it, and
- it must not be a statutorily prohibited offense.
Can a Felony Be Expunged
Yes, a felony can be expunged or sealed (provided it is not statutorily prohibited). The process is exactly the same for a misdemeanor or a felony arrest.
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