If you were arrested in Florida, you likely have a criminal record. This criminal charge will appear on Florida criminal background checks unless the record is sealed or expunged. If you want to clear your criminal record, you need to know if you are eligible to do so. If you want to seal your arrest record, go through the “Can I Seal My Florida Criminal Record” Checklist. If you are interested in expunging your record, visit “Can I Expunge My Florida Criminal Record?”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement provides a list of reasons as to why you may not be able to seal or expunge your record. In order to qualify for a record seal or expunction, you must obtain a certificate of eligibility from the FDLE. The FDLE will not issue the certificate if one of the following apply to you:
- The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation. If applicable,that you have been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s.943.051(3)b. Certain driving violations are classified as criminal, such as DUI, reckless driving, and (with some exceptions) driving while license is suspended/canceled/revoked.
- The criminal history record reflects that you have been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing one or more of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains.
- The criminal history record reflects that you have received a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under s.943.0585, s.943.059, former s.893.14, former s.901.33 or former s.943.058.
- The criminal history record to which the application pertains relates to a violation of s.393.135, s.394.4593, s.787.025, chapter 794, s.796.03, s.800.04, s.810.14, s.817.034, s.825.1025, s.827.071, chapter 839, s.847.0133, s.847.0135, s.847.0145, s.893.135, s.916.1075 a violation enumerated in s.907.041, or a violation of any offense qualifying for registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435, F.S., with a finding of guilt, or a plea or guilty or nolo contendre (without regard to whether adjudication was withheld).
- The criminal history record reflects that you have another petition to seal or expunge pending before a court or competent jurisdiction.
- The criminal history record reflects that the court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains has not been completed. (Reasons for FDLE Denial)
The six points listed above apply to both sealing and expunging a Florida criminal record. There is another circumstance that applies to record expunctions. You will not be able to expunge your Florida criminal record if “the criminal history record reflects that some or all of the charges related to the arrest or criminal activity to which the application pertains were not dismissed prior to trial, adjudication, or the withholding of adjudication. If no other disqualification applies, the record would be eligible to be sealed.”
There is an additional question you must ask yourself if you are trying to seal your record. Even if you were not convicted of the crime and the court withheld adjudication, you may not be able to seal your Florida record if you pleaded guilty or no contest to a disqualifying offense. Read Crimes that Cannot Be Sealed in Florida for a list of the crimes that are considered disqualifying offenses.