Questions about Sealing or Expunging your Criminal case in Florida Part One

Frequently Asked Questions About The Sealing or Expungement Process


What Is An Expungement?

Expungement is the way to get your arrest accusation or criminal record removed from public viewing. It’s dictated by a Florida statute 943.0585 and Florida statute 943.059 as well as Chapter 11C-7 of Florida Administrative Code. It gives you a one-time shot, one mistake that you had in your past to get eliminated or erased from your record.

How Does Having A Record Sealed Compare To Having A Criminal Record Expunged?

For many people, there may be little difference between sealing and expungement.

Any government agency with high level security, have access to databases that can view your record. The general public won’t be able to view your record and it will be sealed. However, government agencies, the FBI, CIA, NSA etc., or military will be allowed to view your record as opposed to a sealed record which takes a specific court order for them to view your record. Those same agencies would have to go to the chief judge in the local jurisdiction and get permission to view the record. That’s the key difference between sealing and expungement. For 99.9%  of the population, there really is no difference because people are generally trying to shield their record from future employers and they are not going to have access to a sealed or an expunged record.

What Are Common Misconceptions People Have Regarding Sealing Or Expunging A Record?

Oftentimes, people think if it’s their first offense, they can always have their record sealed and expunged. However, it’s actually not true. There are several cases that aren’t eligible. If someone gets a first time DUI, with no prior record, in Florida it cannot be sealed or expunged. That’s usually the most common misconception about sealing or expunging.


Why Would Someone Still Have A Criminal History Record If Charges Against Them Were Dropped?

The criminal record might be dropped but the arrest has not been dropped. If you get arrested and it eventually gets litigated, it could be dropped or you’re found not guilty at trial. However, the fact that you were arrested will stay there.

It doesn’t matter what happened in your case in the future. Your arrest is still public record and your mug-shot is still public record. Even though your case might be dismissed, dropped or you get not guilty at trial, your mug-shot or your booking photo is still going to be on the internet, accessible to anyone who can do a simple Google search.

Therefore, it’s important to seal or expunge your record depending on the circumstance, even if the case was dropped so you can get your booking photo off the internet or off the public databases that are keeping it.


If you have More Questions About The Expungement Process, call the law office of Blake & Dorsten P.A. for a free initial consultation at (727) 286-6141 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.



When Or Who Is Eligible To Have A Record Sealed Or Expunged?


Who Qualifies For Either Having A Record Sealed Or Expunged In Florida?

Generally speaking, the cases that will qualify for sealing and expunging are if you have absolutely no prior record, this is your first offense, and you received a withhold of adjudication, meaning you were adjudicated of the offense. Also, to be eligible you have to have completed any probationary period and your offenses are generally minor in nature.

How Many Different Arrest Records Can Someone Have Or Attempt To Have Sealed Or Expunged?

You can generally get one date of an offense sealed or expunged. That might be several charges, as many charges could arise from the same incident. For example, you may have a crime in which you have several different drugs on you and in that case, you would have several different drug charges.

Although that arose from one incident, you could potentially get all those charges sealed or expunged. However, if there was a separate subsequent incident from the initial one, then that is not going to be eligible. It’s generally a one-time one-shot deal.

What Other Factors Might Disqualify Someone From Having A Record Sealed Or Expunged?

The biggest factor thing that disqualifies people from getting their records sealed or expunged is the adjudication of guilt. As mentioned earlier, DUI is a mandatory adjudication, so that’s not going to be eligible to get sealed or expunged.

If you are adjudicated of your crime, it’s impossible to get it sealed or expunged. Then there are several charges that are just ineligible, and those involve more violent types of crimes such as victim crimes, gun charges or crimes to children.

What Can Be Done With A Juvenile Record? Are Those Handled Differently In Sealing Or Expungement?

Yes. Juvenile records are handled differently. If a juvenile record goes through the pre-trial intervention program, it can actively be sealed or expunged from your record. Generally speaking, the Department of Juvenile Justice does seal your records at age 24 or 26, depending on the circumstances.

However, it’s always important to contact a law firm like Blake & Dorsten and be certain that your record from a juvenile incident is sealed or expunged. If it’s not, they can go forward with that process which is very similar to the adult process. However, it’s important to take an active approach.

What Are Other Types Of Arrests Or Charges That Cannot Be Sealed Or Expunged Besides DUI?

In Florida, Statute 984.0585 dictates the type of charges that are ineligible for expungement and they include robbery, treason, arson, sex crimes, child molestation etc. There is a list and they’re generally pretty severe types of charges.

Attorneys like Blake & Dorsten have access to the charges that are ineligible and if you call them for a free consultation, they’ll let you know right away whether your charges are going to be eligible.


If you are not sure whether you are Eligible To Have A Record Sealed Or Expunged, call the law office of Blake & Dorsten P.A. for a free initial consultation at (727) 286-6141 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

Contact Information