Criminal Attorney Corzo & Kohrs
Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Corzo & KohrsCriminal Defense Attorney Corzo & KohrsOrlando Criminal Defense Lawyer Corzo & KohrsCriminal Defense Lawyer Corzo & KohrsOrlando DUI Attorney Corzo & Kohrs
DUI Attorney Corzo & Kohrs
   
                           

Attorney Samuel Kohrs was recently quoted by The Golf Channel regarding the Tiger Woods car accident.
 Golf Channel
Click Here for the article.

Seal or Expunge Your Criminal History Record
FAQ

YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO HAVE YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD PERMANENTLY SEALED/EXPUNGED

Seal or Expunge Record
Eligibility
Crimes and Arrests not eligible to Seal or Expunge
Sealing Criminal Record
Expunging Criminal Record
Frequent Questions
Glossary of Legal Terms

Frequently Asked Questions  

  1. Am I eligible to have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
  2. Why do I have a criminal history record when the charges against me were dropped or dismissed?
  3. Should I obtain a copy of my criminal history record prior to applying for a Certificate of Eligibility?
  4. What is the difference between having a criminal history record sealed vs. expunged?
  5. When is my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
  6. How many dates of arrest can I have sealed or expunged?
  7. What charges may not be sealed?
  8. What charges may be expunged?
  9. Why can’t I just expunge my record instead of sealing it?
  10. I was arrested by mistake (mistaken identity), what can be done?
  11. Can I appeal the denial of my application for a Certificate of Eligibility to  seal or expunge my criminal history record?
  12. If I receive a full pardon can I have my criminal history record sealed or  expunged?
  13. If I receive clemency, will my record be automatically expunged?
  14. If I have my civil rights restored, will my criminal history record  disappear?
  15. Do I have to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility to have my juvenile  criminal history record sealed or expunged?
  16. If I have a criminal history record sealed or expunged in another state or  jurisdiction, am I still eligible to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged within the State of Florida?
  17. How long does it typically take to receive a response from my application  for a Certificate of Eligibility?
  18. Will FDLE notify the agencies involved with my case that the record has  been sealed or expunged?
  19. What type of background check is conducted by FDLE to determine my  eligibility to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged?
  20. Why is the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles checked to determine my eligibility to have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
  21. Who should receive a copy of the order to seal or expunge a criminal history record?
  22. What do I do with my Certificate of Eligibility?
  23. How Long Does It Take To Have A Florida Criminal Record Sealed or  Expunged?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Am I eligible to have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Answer:
Misdemeanors, felonies and juvenile records are sealable. Florida Statutes, s.943.0585 and s.943.059, set forth the criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged. These statutes also state that in order to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged within the State of Florida, an individual must first make application to the FDLE for a Certificate of Eligibility. Please note that the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility does not mean that your criminal history record will be ordered sealed or expunged. It merely indicates that you are statutorily eligible for the type of relief that is being requested.
 
 
2. Why do I have a criminal history record when the charges against me were dropped or dismissed?
Answer:
The Florida Legislature has determined that Florida criminal history records are public unless the record is sealed or expunged. See Section 943.053(3), Florida Statutes, which provides for public access to criminal history records. The term "criminal history information" is defined, tracking the federal definition, at Section 943.045(4), Florida Statutes. A criminal history record is created when a person is arrested and fingerprinted, and includes the disposition of that arrest, whether it is a conviction, acquittal, dismissal of charges before trial, or other disposition.
 
3. Should I obtain a copy of my criminal history record prior to applying for a Certificate of Eligibility?
Answer:
Under Florida and federal law, an individual has the right to request a copy of his or her criminal history record for purposes of review, to ensure that it is both accurate and complete. This process is known as a Personal Review. The requestor may examine the record obtained through Personal Review for accuracy and to challenge any information contained within the criminal history record that the record subject believes is inaccurate or incomplete. No charge is assessed by FDLE for this service. See s.943.056, Florida Statutes. A Personal Review allows an individual to determine which, if any, date(s) of arrest the applicant will be eligible to have sealed or expunged. However, obtaining a personal review is not a prerequisite to applying for a certificate of eligibility to seal or expunge a criminal history record.
 
4. What is the difference between having a criminal history record sealed vs. expunged?
Answer:
Sealed:
When a criminal history record is sealed, the public will not have access to it and the record will not show up in any background check. Your record, including police, state attorney, other agencies, and court records are physically sealed and stored and cannot be accessed without court order. Certain governmental or related entities, primarily those listed in s. 943.059(4)(a), Florida Statutes, have access to sealed record information in its entirety. After 10 years of having your record sealed, you may ask the Court to expunge (destroy) the record.
Expunged:
Expunging a record means that the record which is expunged is physically destroyed. Only one copy of your record is retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and that copy is not viewable by anyone without Court order. When a record has been expunged, those entities which would have access to a sealed record will be informed that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order. All they would receive is a caveat statement indicating that "Criminal Information has been Expunged from this Record.”
 
5. When is my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Answer:
Once an order has been issued by the court of competent jurisdiction to seal or expunge your criminal history record and a certified copy of this order has been received by the FDLE, it will be complied with in accordance with state statutes.
 
6. How many dates of arrest can I have sealed or expunged?
Answer:
Unfortunately, you can only seal ONE charge from ONE incident or MULTIPLE CHARGES only if from the SAME incident.
 
The eligibility criteria for an applicant to have a record sealed or expunged include the requirement that the applicant be able to attest that he or she has never previously had a record sealed or expunged in Florida or in another jurisdiction. This means, in effect, that a person may only seal or expunge one arrest record in one proceeding. More than one record may be sealed or expunged in the same proceeding if the court, in its sole discretion, finds the arrests to be directly related.
A record that is initially ineligible for expunction (e.g., where adjudication is withheld) may become eligible after it has been sealed for 10 years. However, a person may not seal or expunge one arrest record and then, later and in a different proceeding, ask to have a different arrest record sealed or expunged. An expunction or sealing which occurs automatically or by operation of law, without any action on the part of the record subject, is not considered a prior expunction or sealing for this purpose. By law, s. 943.0582(8), Florida Statutes, a juvenile diversion expunge does not prevent the record subject from seeking a judicial expunction or sealing under s. 943.0585 or s. 943.059, Florida Statutes.
 
*CHARGES refer to each individual crime or ‘count.’ For example if you were charged with Battery and petit theft all from the same incident, that would be one case with TWO charges/counts.
 
7. What charges may not be sealed?
Answer:
A list of charges that may not be sealed when adjudication is withheld is included with the application package, and is also enumerated in s. 943.059, Florida Statutes. (The same listing is found in s. 943.0585, because the specified offenses may not be expunged either.) In addition, if a person has been adjudicated guilty of any criminal offense in any jurisdiction (or adjudicated delinquent for any felony or for certain specified misdemeanors), whether or not related to the charge(s) that the person is applying for, the record is ineligible for sealing and the application will be denied.
 
8. What charges may be expunged?
Answer:
The same eligibility requirements which apply to sealing also apply to expunction, with certain additional requirements. Any charge, which resulted in a withholding of adjudication or in an acquittal (not guilty verdict) after trial, may not be expunged unless and until it has first been sealed for at least 10 years. See s. 943.0585(2)(h), Florida Statutes. A charge which was dismissed before trial (e.g., no information, nolle prosequi, no bill, etc.) may be expunged immediately provided all charges related to the arrest were so disposed of, and the record is otherwise eligible.
 
9.   Why can’t I just expunge my record instead of sealing it?
Answer:
You can only have your record immediately expunged if you were: arrested but never charged by the State Attorney (referred to as a "no action" or "no file"), the State Attorney later nolle prossed (dismissed) the case, or the Court dismissed the case. You can apply to have your record expunged after is has been sealed for 10 years.
 
10.  I was arrested by mistake (mistaken identity), what can be done?
Answer:
You do not have to use your one time statutory privilege to seal or expunge a mistaken arrest. A mistaken arrest can be sealed administratively and you can save your one time seal or expunge privilege should you ever need it in the future.
 
11. Can I appeal the denial of my application for a Certificate of Eligibility to   seal or expunge my criminal history record?
Answer:
If you believe that the denial of your application for Certification of Eligibility is in error, you may ask that the denial be reviewed. If the denial is based on information in your criminal history record that is believed to be in error or incomplete, the procedure for reviewing and correcting that record is given in Rule 11C-8.001, Florida Administrative Code. If you agree that the criminal history information is correct, but believe that the law has been incorrectly applied or interpreted in your case, you may appeal the decision of the FDLE. The appeal of a denial is to be handled within the court of competent jurisdiction.
 
12. If I receive a full pardon can I have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Answer:
Unless the pardon indicates on its face that it entitles the record subject to seal or expunge his or her criminal history record, the granting of a full pardon does not remove any condition of ineligibility for sealing or expunging a criminal history record imposed by the disposition of the pardoned offense. See Randall v. Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 791 So. 2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001).
 
13. If I receive clemency, will my record be automatically expunged?
 
Answer:
No. Neither a full pardon, nor any other type of clemency, will automatically expunge or facilitate the expungement of your criminal record. You should contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at seal-expunge@fdle.state.fl.us for information on the expungement or sealing of records.
 
14. If I have my civil rights restored, will my criminal history record disappear?
Answer:
No. In order to have your civil rights restored you had to have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony that was the basis for your loss of civil rights. Persons who have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony are not eligible for a seal or expunge of their criminal history under Florida law, regardless of whether their civil rights have been restored.
 
15. Do I have to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility to have my juvenile criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Answer:
The following considerations are relevant to the decision whether to seek the judicial sealing or expunction of a juvenile criminal history record. Prior to October 1, 1994 (for felonies), and July 1, 1996 (for specified misdemeanors), juvenile arrest records were not maintained by FDLE in the criminal history record system and would not be available to the general public unless the juvenile were treated as an adult. Juvenile records are subject to an abbreviated retention schedule, if certain qualifications are met, which results in the automatic expunction of the record after a specified period, under s. 943.0515, Florida Statutes. Juvenile defendants who successfully complete a qualified diversion program, as set out in s. 943.0582, Florida Statutes, may be eligible for expunction of their record as the term is defined therein. If a person wishes to pursue the judicial sealing or expunction of his or her juvenile record, the eligibility criteria and procedure, which are similar to those for adults, are found in s. 943.059 and s. 943.0585, Florida Statutes.
 
16. If I have a criminal history record sealed or expunged in another state or jurisdiction, am I still eligible to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged within the State of Florida?
Answer:
Maybe, if your out of state was sealed or expunged by operation of law (administratively or automatically, without intervention or action by the subject of the record), then the out-of-state sealing or expunction would not prevent you from being eligible to have a record in Florida sealed or expunged. However, if the out of state record was sealed or expunged because you petitioned to have it done by a court order, or otherwise actively sought the sealing or expunction, then you would not be eligible to have another record sealed or expunged.
 
17. How long does it typically take to receive a response from my application for a Certificate of Eligibility?
Answer:
The current processing time is thirty (30) working days or less from the date the application is r     eceived, processed, and mailed back to the customer.
Special Note: If the application is not complete at the time of submission the application will be returned. This will cause the application process to be delayed beyond the thirty (30) working day period.
If I had a criminal history record sealed or expunged, and then had it vacated, could I apply to have a new date of arrest sealed or expunged?
As s. 943.0585(2)(f) and s. 943.059(2)(e), Florida Statutes require that an applicant have never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under current or former law, having an earlier seal or expunge order vacated does not remove this disqualification.
 
18. Will FDLE notify the agencies involved with my case that the record has been sealed or expunged?
Answer:
If eligible and the court grants relief, FDLE will comply with the certified court order and seal or expunge the appropriate criminal history record. Once FDLE seals or expunges the criminal history record, a notification letter will be sent by FDLE to the arresting agency or agencies involved with your case. The notification letter is to inform the agencies that FDLE has received and has complied with the order in accordance with the seal or expunge statutes.
 
19. What type of background check is conducted by FDLE to determine my eligibility to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Answer:
FDLE conducts criminal history record checks in Florida through the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC), national record checks through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and driving history checks through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). These databases are utilized to determine the eligibility of an individual to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged.
 
20. Why is the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles   checked to determine my eligibility to have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Answer:
A criminal offense such as DUI, Driving While License Suspended/canceled/revoked, or reckless driving may appear in the DHSMV database even though it may not be entered in the criminal history record system maintained by FDLE. Although non-criminal traffic offenses (such as careless driving) have no affect on eligibility to seal or expunge a criminal history record, an adjudication of guilty for any criminal offense renders the record ineligible for either form of relief.
 
21. Who should receive a copy of the order to seal or expunge a criminal history record?
Answer:
If the record is eligible and the court grants relief, the Clerk of the Court by statute is responsible to certify a copy of the court order to the State Attorney’s Office or the Statewide Prosecutors Office and the arresting agency or agencies. The arresting agency is then responsible for sending a certified copy of the court order to all agencies that are known to have received the criminal history information. In addition to FDLE, these agencies may include the Department of Corrections, Teen Courts, and Department of Juvenile Justice.
 
22. What do I do with my Certificate of Eligibility?
Answer:
Once FDLE has issued the Certificate of Eligibility to seal or expunge a criminal history record, the next step is to file a petition for relief, along with the Certificate of Eligibility and the required affidavit, in the court in the county of the arrest. The issuance of the Certificate of Eligibility is not the final step in the Sealing/Expunction process, nor does it guarantee that a criminal history record will be sealed or expunged. The final decision to Seal/Expunge your criminal history is placed by law in the sound discretion of the court.
 
 
23. How Long Does It Take To Have A Florida Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged?
Answer:
On average it takes 5 to 7 months to complete a Florida record sealing or expungement. However, the exact length of time depends on various factors:
Expunging your record takes a bit more time than sealing your record due to additional legal requirements;
How fast the state attorney signs off on the disposition of your case (for expungements only);
The county your case is in as some county clerk’s offices are more efficient than others;
How fast the FDLE can issue the certificate of eligibility. (FDLE must grant the required certificate of eligibility or the court will not consider your petition to seal or expunge. It may take the FDLE up to 3-5 months to process your application to seal or expunge your record;
The procedure for having the final petition considered. Each county and each judge has their own time limits and procedures for setting seal/expunge cases for final hearing. Depending on the county and the judge's own procedure, this also can affect the time it takes to finally complete the sealing or expungement of your case.

Information provided above from the Florida Statutes and Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

**Disclaimer: The information on this page should be used as a reference only and is not intended to be legal advice. Florida criminal law is continually changing therefore some of the provisions contained here may be out of date. It is always best to consult an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.**

Contact an Orlando criminal defense attorney at Corzo & Kohrs to SEAL OR EXPUNGE YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD.

At Corzo & Kohrs you can speak directly with an experienced Orlando criminal defense lawyer about helping you expunge your criminal record or seal your criminal record. For questions about how to seal or expunge your criminal record, contact a criminal defense attorney at Corzo & Kohrs for a free initial consultation.

©2009 Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys Corzo & Kohrs, P.A., All Rights Reserved
The Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Corzo & Kohrs almost exclusively limit their practice to defending clients charged with criminal offenses.
An Orlando   Criminal Defense Attorney is available 24 hours a day and on weekends and holidays.