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Expungement Qualification: Quick Overview
Many people look to expunge or seal a minor offense once they have decided on their career choice, such as nursing, teaching, and law enforcement, or when they become concerned about their current employer finding out about a prior mistake.
Are you eligible? Expungement qualification is the first step.
You need to expunge or seal your record before you need it done because it takes time to complete. Remember, it is never too early to start an expungement.
Determining Your Eligibility
Determining if you are eligible to have your record sealed or expunged is relatively easy. You can do either of two things to find out if you qualify.
- You can just submit your information in the form at the bottom of this page, or
- You can read through the questions below.
If you submit your information in the below form I will be sending you more detailed information about the process, costs, and time it takes to get done.
Step by Step Qualifying Guide
The first thing I need to determine before I can represent you is whether you qualify to have your arrest record expunged or sealed.
This is a necessary step and I do this for free. Do not pay a lawyer before you know if you qualify or not.
Qualification/Eligibility (what it means)
Qualification, or being eligible, means that you should receive a Certificate of Eligibility [COE] from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [FDLE].
I will check your criminal history and determine if you meet all the requirements to have FDLE issue you a COE. I need your COE in order to petition the court and if I believe there are no legal issues in getting that, you are eligible.
Obtaining a COE does not mean the Court has to grant your expungement or sealing but it is required to file the petition and have the court rule on the merits.
Florida Expungement Qualification
To be eligible for a Florida Record Expungement, your case must have been resolved in one of the following ways:
- The charges you were arrested for were ultimately dropped, dismissed, or you were acquitted of the charges, either by a judge or jury, and:
- (1) you have never been convicted of a criminal offense in Florida, and
- (2) all juvenile felonies and specified misdemeanors (found in s. 943.0585(1)(d)) that resulted in an adjudication of delinquency have been automatically expunged pursuant to s. 943.0515, Fla. Stat., and
- (3) you have never sealed or expunged another arrest record in Florida (unless you are expunging an arrest that has been sealed for 10-years).
Florida Sealing Qualification
To be eligible for a Florida Record Sealing, your case must have been resolved in one of the following ways:
- You entered a plea of “Guilty” or “No Contest” and the Court “Withheld” the adjudication of guilt, or
- You were found guilty after a trial and the Court “Withheld” the adjudication of guilt, and
- (1) the offense(s) you were found guilty of is/are not prohibited from being sealed, pursuant to s. 943.0584, Fla. Stat., and
- (2) you have never been convicted of a criminal offense in Florida, and
- (3) all juvenile felonies and specified misdemeanors (found in s. 943.059, Fla. Stat.) that resulted in an adjudication of delinquency have been automatically expunged pursuant to s. 943.0515, Fla. Stat., and
- (4) you have never sealed or expunged another arrest in Florida.
The difference between sealing a record and expunging a record can be found on the Differences Page.
A Closer Look at Expungement Eligibility
How Many Times Were You Arrested? Were You Convicted?
I need to know what each of your Florida criminal cases were for (charges) and how they were resolved by the court before I can determine if you qualify. If you have only been arrested once or twice and you remember the County where these arrests occurred, I can look these up for you.
If you do not remember all of your arrests and/or locations, do not guess. If you have been arrested more than twice, I need you to run an FDLE criminal history on yourself and forward the results to me. The cost is $24 paid to FDLE. I may need you to run this criminal history even if you have been arrested only once.
In Florida, You Can Be Found Guilty AND NOT BE CONVICTED
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. See, differences between conviction and withhold of adjudication.
Remember: Adjudicated Guilty = Convicted. Adjudication of Guilt Withheld = Not Convicted.
Some Offenses Cannot be Sealed Even if Adjudication was Withheld
If the arrest/case you want removed resulted in a withhold of adjudication, you may be eligible to have it sealed. However, there are some charges (listed in s. 943.0584, Fla. Stat.) that cannot be sealed even if adjudication was withheld. FDLE maintains a list of offenses that are not allowed to be sealed even if adjudication is withheld. These offenses can be expunged if you qualify.
Juvenile cases are more complicated and more details must be obtained to see if the case can be sealed/expunged. Juvenile cases that have gone through a diversion program resulting is a dismissal should take advantage of the Juvenile Expungement process. If that did not occur or your case did not get dismissed, then we need to discuss the details of your situation.
Because juvenile cases are not public records, you may be required to obtain your court records in order to proceed in determining if you qualify.
Information about Expungement Eligibility Emailed to You
We will not harass you with calls, emails, or texts.
We will not place you on a mailing list.
We will not share your information with anyone.
Submit your information above and we will send you an email that answers most of your questions regarding costs and time it takes to complete. We also include a worksheet with the email that allows us to determine if you are qualified to have your Florida arrest record sealed or expunged. You can also download the worksheet here (Expungement Worksheet [PDF]) and return it by email (scan to PDF), Fax at 407-841-9090, or United States mail.