Sealing or expunging your own record (without an attorney) can be done. There are lots of websites that offer assistance in this area (see my Links Page). However, some of the biggest hurdles are the little things such as document preparation. Document preparation (next to learning how to efile) is probably the most tedious job you must do if you are trying to seal or expunge your record on your own.
Do It Yourself Expungement Florida
I decided to try and help people who were on the path to “pro se” filing of their own expungement or sealing. You probably already have applied for and received your Certificate of Eligibility (if not, a good place to start is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website). 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.
The Three Documents You Must Prepare
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.
However, first check out my Expungement Links Page. There may be “approved forms” already provided by the Clerk of Court for the county you are trying to do this in.
If you would like more information about this service please fill out the form below. Once submitted you should receive a response within 24 hours.