How Do I Seal My Criminal Record?

Miami, West Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale, Florida

If you have a criminal history in the state of Florida and would like to get your record sealed or expunged, there are several steps to take. One of our criminal lawyers in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or our other Florida offices can help you make sure that your record is no longer public record.

Eligibility to Seal Criminal Record

You can only have one record sealed or expunged. If you have petitioned and had your criminal record sealed in another state, you will not be eligible to request sealing your record in Florida. Some criminal records are not eligible for sealing or expunction because of the nature of the offense, such as cannabis drug trafficking and sexual assault crimes involving children. Our criminal lawyers will be able to tell you if you are eligible to apply for expunction.

Applying for a Certificate of Eligibility

To apply for a Certificate of Eligibility you must submit a completed package to the court including the following:

  • Completed application
  • Fingerprints taken by authorized law enforcement personnel
  • A certified disposition of your case from the clerk of court in the county where charges were brought
  • A nonrefundable money order or cashier's check for $75
  • For expunction, a state attorney must complete section B of your application   

Sealing Juvenile Records

If you were charged with a juvenile crime, you may be able to seal or expunge your record. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not maintain juvenile arrest records prior to July 1, 1996, and certain juvenile records are automatically expunged after a certain time period. Meeting with one of our criminal lawyers is the best way to determine whether your juvenile record is still available and whether you are eligible to apply for sealing it.

Agencies That Can Retrieve Sealed Criminal Records

Having your record sealed can make life easier. You no longer have to report your criminal record on rental or job applications. But some agencies will still be able to view your record. For example, if you are a candidate for a job with a criminal justice agency or the Department of Children and Family Services or if you are a defendant in a criminal prosecution, your record is still available.

If your record is expunged, when those agencies request your record, they will be notified that there was a record but that the material has been expunged.

If you would like to speak with a criminal lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or throughout Florida about getting your criminal record sealed, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida to schedule your consultation.