Sealing or expunging your own record (without an attorney) is possible. It can be difficult, however. There are many websites that offer assistance in this area. Unfortunately, these websites fall short as a guide to completing the process.
Some of the biggest hurdles that you will face are the little things such as:
- Responding to FDLE denial letters
- Document Preparation – Petition, Affidavits, Orders
- Electronic Filing
- Contacting the Correct Court
- Responding to Objections from the Prosecutor
- What to do after your Petition is granted
Many people start the process and then have questions. How to do this or that. The State Attorney’s Office nor the Florida Department of Law Enforcement can assist you. Neither can the Clerk of Court, although sometimes they try with disastrous results (they once told me I could not seal a certain arrest – which was completely inaccurate). Only a licensed attorney can provide you with legal advice.
Buy The Book
When you decide to expunge or seal your own record, you have no reference except the internet on how to do this. Once you receive your certificate of eligibility there is only so much time to finish the process before you have to start over again. There are many things to do that can be easily done if you know how.
These are some of the reasons I wrote a book helping people do this with a step-by-step guide. The cost is only $24, the same price as obtaining your criminal history from FDLE, and it goes step-by-step making the entire process simple.
Find out more about the book ⚖ Erase Your Record, The DIY Expungement Book: Expunge Your Record Without an Attorney.
Do It Yourself Expungement Florida
I try and help people who want to expunge or seal their own criminal record. I cannot give you legal advice unless you retain me but I can help in document preparation and you can always buy my book.
The Three Documents You Must Prepare
You may already have applied for and received your Certificate of Eligibility. Now you are facing the sometimes daunting task of actually filing your request with the court. The first thing you need to do is prepare the forms.
There are three documents that must be prepared. You need to file the petition, the affidavit, and a proposed order. A few counties already have approved forms (documents you can download) for this – so start first by checking with the Clerk of Court. This will save you a lot of time if your county has these.
The Petition to Seal or Expunge
You can find out what this document is suppose to look like (and how it should read) by searching within the “Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure.” There is a draft form (created by the Florida Supreme Court) of all the documents you will need in those rules. I follow the wording exactly as it is written in those rules. If any document will raise an objection from the State Attorney it will be the petition if the language is flawed (incorrect arrest dates, arresting agency, etc.).
The Affidavit to Seal or Expunge
This document found in the rules is a bit antiquated. That’s because the law has changed slightly since the rule has been updated. Currently, Florida law allows you to request a sealing or an expungement in Florida regardless of whether you have already received a sealing or expungement in another state. The law use to exclude your ability to seek a sealing or expungement if you had ever had any arrest sealed or expunged. The rule reflects the old law.
Proposed Order to Seal or Expunge
The proposed order is another document the State Attorney will scrutinize. If it’s wrong they will ask that you correct it before the hearing. This will delay the court’s decision.
All these documents, along with the Certificate of Eligibility, need to be filed with the Clerk of Court. Getting these documents done correctly the first time can save you time. Typically, when you file your petition (and affidavit and proposed order) the court will give the State Attorney about 30 days to respond with any objections. If you have to correct a document the court will typically give the State Attorney another 30 days.
Saving you the time it takes to look up, type up, and correctly format the petition, affidavit, and proposed order, I provide your document preparation for you. The cost is $49.00 and you will receive your documents in .pdf format within 24 business hours by email. This also includes one correction (just in case you got something wrong). This is especially useful if you do not have a word processor or printer. If you do not have a printer I will also mail you the documents.
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