In order to qualify for a Florida criminal arrest record expungement or sealing you must:
- Never been convicted of a criminal offense, and
- Never had a prior expungement under Florida law, and
- The charges you were arrest for are not prohibited by statute.
Qualifying for Record Expungement – Step by Step
Qualifying to have your criminal arrest record either sealed or expunged is a matter of fact. Either you qualify or you do not. First, you can never have been convicted of a criminal offense (see below for more details because this is not the same as being “found guilty”) and you can never have expunged a prior arrest under Florida law. The specific disposition of your case determines if it qualifies for sealing or expunging.
Record Expungement Qualification
If your case has been:
- no-billed (no information or not filed on), or
- acquitted after a trial
it is eligible to be expunged.*
Record Sealing Qualification
If your case was resolved in any of the following manners it is eligible to be sealed:
- You entered a plea of “Guilty” or “No Contest” and the Court “Withheld” the adjudication of guilt.
- You were found guilty after a trial and the Court “Withheld” the adjudication of guilt.
- The offense you were found guilty of is not prohibited from being sealed.
Expungement Qualifying is the First Step
Record expungement qualification is only the first step in the sealing or expungement process. Below I have posed several questions you can ask yourself to see if you qualify.
STARTING THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS – Qualifying
Follow the steps spelled out below to see if you qualify to have your Florida arrest record sealed or expunged. Never pay an attorney to seal or expunge your record before you know if you qualify.
STEP ONE – Qualifying for the Type of Help You Need
First, determine what type of record expungement (sealing) you really need.
- INACCURATE CRIMINAL RECORD: If you have never been arrested but have an arrest or arrests appearing on your criminal background, or your arrest and case information is inaccurate.
- MISTAKEN ARREST: If you were arrested due to a mistake (for example, arrested on a warrant for a person with the same name as you) then you may qualify for an administrative expungement.
- JUVENILE ARREST RECORDS: If you are a juvenile (under 18 years of age) and you are in or just completed a pretrial diversion program you may qualify for a Juvenile Diversion Expungement. This is time sensitive.
- CRIMINAL RECORD YOU WANT REMOVED: If you were arrested for any other reason please continue on to Step Two.
STEP TWO – Do You Qualify for an Expungement or Sealing
THIS IS IMPORTANT: Record expungement qualification requires answering just three simple questions (same for sealings). Ask yourself these three questions:
1. How many times in your entire life (from the time you were born) have you been arrested?
2. Have any of those arrests resulted in the Court
Adjudicating you guilty or delinquent?
3. Have you ever sealed or expunged a prior arrest record in the State of Florida before today?
#1-How Many Times Were You Arrested?
You need to remember how many times you have been arrested (or given a notice to appear in court) for a criminal offense. We need to know the dispositions (how the case was resolved by the court) for all of your cases to determine your criminal record expungement qualification.
If you do not know this information you can run a FDLE criminal history check on yourself.
#2-Were You Ever Convicted?
Question 2 is very important. Any conviction (when the court adjudicates you guilty or delinquent) in any criminal case (including from other states) will make you ineligible to seal or expunge a criminal record (there are some juvenile conviction exceptions to this but they are very limited).
You Can Be Found Guilty AND NOT CONVICTED in Florida
In Florida you can be found guilty BUT NOT CONVICTED. This means that you may still qualify to have your record sealed even if you were found guilty or pled “no contest” or “guilty” to a criminal charge.
Finding Out If You Have Been Convicted
If you answered “no” to numbers 2 and 3 you’re in good shape. If you are not sure you can search your records by going to the Clerk of Court’s website in the county where you were arrested. Most Clerk’s websites have a search function for criminal records. If that doesn’t work you can run your own criminal history through FDLE’s website.
If you are unsure of the disposition of your juvenile records, you must contact the clerk yourself and find out what the outcome of each of those cases were. We do not have access to your juvenile records and they are not maintained online by the Clerks.
If You Were Found Guilty And Had The Adjudication Withheld
If the case you want to try to expunge resulted in a withholding of the adjudication of guilt you may be eligible to have that record sealed.
STEP THREE – Getting Started
Getting started is easy. Contact us and we will send you a detailed email explaining our services, representation, and fees.
STEP FOUR – Sit Back And Relax
Here is the easy part. After we determine your expungement qualification and you hire us, we will be sending you some documents. These include three documents that you need to notarize and a fingerprint card. Follow the instructions and return the completed forms. After that sit back and relax, we will take care of everything else.
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