Florida expungement and sealing law allows for a wide variety of criminal charges to be expunged and sealed. Any charge that has been dropped can be expunged. However, for charges that you were found guilty of, the law restricts the number of criminal acts that can be sealed.
Florida law provides a list of prohibited offenses that:
- If they resulted in a finding of guilt – even if the court withheld the adjudication, cannot be sealed, but
- However, if they were dismissed, no billed, or acquitted, they can be expunged, or
- Or, if the charge was amended to something other than one of the prohibited offenses, may be sealed.
It is important to understand that if you were arrested for a prohibited offense but pled to one that is eligible – you still may qualify to have your record sealed. Do not just give up. We provide a free qualification check. Just submit your information below to get started.
Understanding the differences between expungement and sealing is also helpful. Read more below.
If your charges were dropped, you want to expunge them. If you were found guilty and had the adjudication “withheld” you must first try to seal it. Understanding the difference between a conviction and a withhold is important too. Read more below.
Qualifying for a Florida expungement or sealing can be confusing. We can determine if you qualify by filling out the form below or you can review our expungement (and sealing) qualification page.
Florida law allows you to seal certain arrest records when you were found guilty. This is a remedial law to allow you to have a second chance without the burden of an arrest record following you. However, certain serious criminal charges cannot be sealed even if the court “withheld” the adjudication of guilt.
The Prohibited List Applies Only to Sealing a Record
The charges below refer to what you were ultimately found guilty of – not what you were arrested for. For example, if you were arrested for Aggravated Battery but were found guilty of just Battery, you would be eligible to seal your record if you otherwise qualify even though Aggravated Battery is prohibited.
If you were found guilty of any of the below listed offenses, your record cannot be sealed:
- 393.135 Sexual misconduct of developmentally disabled
- 394.4593 Sexual misconduct of the mentally disabled
- 787.025 Luring or enticing a child
- Chapter 794 Sexual Battery (if your charged starts with 794.nnn you are ineligible)
- 796.03 Procuring person under age of 18 for prostitution
- 800.04 Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
- 810.14 Voyeurism
- 817.034 Florida Communications Fraud Act
- 825.1025 Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person
- 827.071 Sexual performance by a child
- Chapter 839 Offense by Public Officers and Employees
- 847.0133 Protection of minors; prohibition of certain acts in connection with obscenity
- 847.0135 Computer pornography; traveling to meet minor
- 847.0145 Selling or buying of minors
- 893.135 Trafficking in Controlled Substances
- 916.1075 Sexual misconduct mentally ill defendants
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Illegal use of explosives
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
- Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
- Aircraft piracy
- Homicide (Murder)
- Sexual battery (Rape)
- Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of person in familial or custodial authority
- Burglary of a dwelling
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
- Act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28
- Home invasion robbery
- Act of terrorism as defined in s. 775.30
- Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893 (Controlled Substances)
- 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.
The list above includes attempts to commit such crimes also.
Shock v. State, 750 So.2d 769 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000): Appellant asserts that because his offense was only an attempt to violate that statute, he is entitled to have the record sealed. He says he violated section 777.04, a general attempt statute and not the drug trafficking statute section 893.135. We disagree and affirm the order of denial. The record-sealing statute says that if the criminal history record relates to the drug trafficking statute then the record will not be sealed. Certainly an attempt to traffic in drugs relates to drug trafficking so logically the legislature meant to include the attempt.
You Can Expunge an Arrest You Were Not Found Guilty Of
Don’t be confused by FDLE’s website – the above list does not apply to any offense if the case was dropped/dismissed/no billed or you were acquitted after a trial and you otherwise qualify.
Babun v. State, 576 So.2d 377 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991): The State concedes that the trial court erroneously applied section 943.058, Florida Statutes (1989), in denying a motion to expunge and seal court records showing that the movant was arrested and charged with a criminal offense. The statute, which prohibits the sealing of records in a completed case, does not apply where the charges are nolle prossed.
Quick Review of Conditions You Must Avoid
Here is a quick list of why, despite all your desires, you cannot seal or expunge your Florida criminal record:
- You have been convicted of a criminal offense (anywhere, at any time).
- You have already sealed or expunged a different criminal record in Florida.
- FOR EXPUNGEMENT: Your case was not dropped/dismissed (You may still qualify for sealing the record).
- FOR SEALING: Your case resulted in a withhold but is prohibited by statute (see list above).
You Can Only Seal or Expunge One Arrest IN FLORIDA
Currently, Florida allows only one sealing or expungement for a Florida charge under its statutes per lifetime. They are no longer concerned about out-of-state expungements. Florida is only concerned with prior sealings or expungements in the state of Florida. If you have already had a criminal record sealed or expunged in Florida you cannot do it again.
The only exceptions are if you have had a ⚖ juvenile diversion expungement done in the past, are a victim of human trafficking or your charges were dropped due to lawful self-defense or your ⚖ record has been sealed for 10-years and you want to expunge the same record. Those do not count towards your one chance to seal or expunge a criminal record in Florida.
For More Information Emailed to You
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