If you have been arrested, you may be wondering if you can seal or expunge your record. You may be able to remove your criminal history from government databases under Section 943.0585 or 943.059 of the Florida Statutes. These two sections apply to sealing and expunging a record in Florida. While the statutes almost mirror one another, they are not the same. Section 943.0585 applies to expunging a Florida criminal record. The law permits a person to expunge an arrest record so long as the person meets certain eligibility requirements.
Can I Expunge My Arrest in Florida?
What are the eligibility requirements necessary to expunge a criminal record in Florida? Here is a checklist that may help you determine your eligibility for an expungment:
- Were your charges dropped, dismissed, or did the state attorney decline to prosecute your case? If so, you may be able to expunge the arrest. . This can be found in Section 943.0585(2)(a) which states:
“an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case…. [but] if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that none of the charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains resulted in a trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt.”
- If your charges were not dropped, has your record been sealed for at least 10 years? If so, you may be able to now expunge the record pursuant to Section 943.0585(2)(h).
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Were you adjudicated guilty as an adult? Were you adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile? If so, Florida law does not permit a record expunction. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer that has expunged many records, this is the problem that I see the most. Florida law prohibits a record seal or expunction for anyone that has been convicted of a crime. Section 943.0585(1)(b)(1) mandates that you cannot have ever “been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor”
- Have you ever sealed or expunged a record? In Florida, you normally get one bite at the apple. What do I mean by this? In general, you can only seal or expunge one arrest record. There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you have expunged a Jacksonville juvenile delinquent record after diversion, you may still be eligible to expunge your record under Section 943.0585. If you have sealed or expunge a record out of state, you may also be able to seal or expunge a Florida record. It is also important to note that you may expunge a record that has previously been sealed. For example, if you were arrested for a Jacksonville possession of cocaine charge and sealed the record, you may be able to expunge the same record after the 10-year period has lapsed.
If you are interested in expunging your criminal record in Duval or the surrounding counties, call (904) 564-2525 to speak to a lawyer in Jacksonville.
Am I Able to Seal My Florida Criminal Record?
If you do not meet the requirements for a record expunction, you may be able to seal your criminal record. What are the requirements for a Florida record seal?
- If you pleaded guilty or no contest to the crime, did the judge withhold adjudication? If you were adjudicated guilty of the crime, you cannot seal the record. If adjudication was withheld, you may be able to seal it if you meet the other requirements. This law can be found in Florida Statute Section 943.059(2)(d) which states that a petitioner seeking to seal his or her arrest record cannot have “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 to seal pertains.”
- If you did not plead guilty or no contest to the crime because you went to trial, did you win at trial? Were you acquitted? If so, you may be able to seal the record.
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Just like a record expungment, you cannot have any criminal convictions if you want to seal your record in Florida.
- Is your case still open? Are you on probation? Do you still have outstanding court costs, restitution, or other fees? You must wait for your case to close to be able to seal the criminal record.
- Did you plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to an enumerated offense? You can only seal certain crimes. If you pleaded guilty or no contest to a disqualifying crime, you will not be able to seal that arrest record. The crimes that you are not able to seal are listed in Section 907.041 of the Florida Statutes. Here is the list of the crimes that you are prohibited from sealing in Florida:
2. Aggravated assault;
3. Aggravated battery;
4. Illegal use of explosives;
5. Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
6. Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
7. Aircraft piracy;
11. Sexual battery;
14. Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in presence of a child under the age of 16 years;
15. Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of person in familial or custodial authority;
16. Burglary of a dwelling;
17. Stalking and aggravated stalking;
18. Act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28;
19. Home invasion robbery;
20. Act of terrorism as defined in s. 775.30;
21. Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893; and
22. Attempting or conspiring to commit any such crime.