What is an expungement? South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney explains

woman and man cop put a man they arrested in Fort Lauderdale in the back of their car under arrestExpungement is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is erased in the eyes of the law and should not appear on a background check.   


When a record is expunged, it is more or less ‘erased’ from the eyes of the public. Employers should not be able to see it, and agencies like cities, counties, and law enforcement will only be able to see that criminal information was completely removed from the person’s Florida criminal record and the only way even police would be able to see what was expunged would be through a court order. 


In Florida, you need a court order to be considered for a criminal record expungement. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) needs an order from the court in the proper jurisdiction. 


Types of Expungements in Florida:

  • Administrative expungement: An arrest that was somehow made contrary to law or by mistake can be expunged by applying to FDLE
  • Court-Ordered Expungement: A person can apply to FDLE for a certificate of eligibility to expunge their criminal record. FDLE can determine if the person is “statutorily eligible” to petition the court to have his or her Florida Criminal Record sealed. 
  • Juvenile Diversion Expungement: Anyone who completed an approved juvenile diversion program for a misdemeanor crime in Florida may apply for juvenile diversion expungement.
  • Lawful Self-Defense Expungement: Someone may be eligible for Lawful Self-Defense Expungement if the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor certifies that the subject acted in lawful self-defense pursuant to the provisions related to justifiable use of force - and the charges were dismissed by the state attorney or the court.  
  • Human Trafficking Expungement: If a person was a victim of Human Trafficking, they may petition for the expungement of a criminal history record resulting from the arrest or criminal charges for an offense committed either as a part of a human trafficking scheme or while he or she was a victim of a human trafficking in Florida. 
  • Automatic Juvenile expungement:  A minor’s criminal history record maintained by FDLE will automatically be expunged when the person turns 21; or at age 26 if the person was committed to a juvenile facility or prison. Most of the time this is possible as long as certain conditions are met and the minor wasn’t charged with a forcible felony. 
  • Early Juvenile Expungement:  A person between 18 and 21 years old can apply to have their juvenile criminal history record expunged early by FDLE. Usually a minor can apply for the charges to be expunged early if they haven’t been charged with or found guilty of any criminal offense in the past 5 years. 

As you can see, there are a number of different types of Expungements in Florida. If you’re in the South Florida Tri-County Area and you think you may qualify for an expungement, give our office a call to see if you qualify and if we can help you get your Florida Criminal record expunged.  


Need an Expungement for Your Criminal Record? We Offer Free Consultations.

Call our office to schedule an appointment for a free consultation: