If you want to expunge your Florida record, you must be eligible under Florida Statute 943.0585. This is the law that applies to expunging criminal records in Florida. It gives a list of the criteria that you must fulfill in order to be able to expunge your record. When you are petitioning the court to expunge your criminal record, you must swear to the following:
1. You have never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).
2. You have not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition pertains.
3. You have never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, s. 943.059, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (2)(h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.
4. You are eligible for such an expunction to the best of your knowledge or belief, and you do not have any other petition to expunge or any petition to seal pending before any court.
One of the problems many people run into is being able to comply with Number 1 above. People often believe that they can seal or expunge their Florida record so long as they were not convicted of the crime for which they are trying to seal. This is not true. The law clearly states that you must not have “been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor.” This means that you cannot have ANY criminal convictions.
What if you were convicted of a crime in another state? Imagine that you were arrested for drinking underage while going to an out-of-state college. You were adjudicated guilty of this criminal offense. It seemed minor at the time, so you were not worried about it. Several years later, you were arrested for grand theft in Jacksonville. You were falsely accused and the charges were dropped. Since you were arrested, a record was created. Now, this Florida theft charge shows up on Florida criminal background checks. You want to clear this arrest from your record. When you try to apply for a criminal record expunction, you were denied a certificate of eligibility. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement found the out-of-state underage drinking charge from your college years. This conviction prevented you from expunging a charge which you may have been otherwise eligible to expunge.
Florida record sealing laws are very similar. Florida Statute 943.059 applies if you would like to seal a Florida criminal record. Under this law, a conviction will stop you from being able to seal your record. This law also states that you can only seal your record is you have “never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).”