Do I qualify to seal or expunge my Florida criminal record? Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney explains

a gavel and handcuffs sit on a black book on a wood desk in a Fort lauderdale Court house where a judge is hearing a case about whether or not to grant that the defendant can seal or expunge their Florida criminal record. There are a few ways that someone can qualify to seal or expunge their South Florida criminal record. 


One of the most common ways that people qualify got sealing or expunging their records is if they were not adjudicated guilty (convicted of the crime) as an adult, and if they have not previously sealed or expunged a criminal record in Florida. 


There are many ways to qualify for the ability to seal or expunge a criminal record, but there are also a few exceptions. There are even certain crimes that cannot legally be sealed from your record but can be expunged under the right circumstances.


You May be Eligible to Seal your Florida Criminal Record if:

  • If you have no prior Florida criminal convictions (you were never adjudicated guilty of a crime in Florida) AND
  • You received a withhold of adjudication on the case you want to be sealed (meaning you did not get a guilty conviction) AND
  • You are finished with any sort of sentence or conditions you had to fulfill 

The benefit of sealing your Florida criminal record is that it will no longer be publicly available, and most of the time an employer won’t be able to see it on a background check and most of the time (barring a few exceptions) you don’t need to disclose the fact that you were even ever arrested. You can learn more about sealing your criminal record here.

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 to seal or expunge your record, give our office a call to see if you qualify and if we can help you get your Florida Criminal record expunged.  


RELATED: What’s the difference between sealing and expunging my Florida Criminal Record?


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