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You May Now Be Eligible – Sealing & Expunging – What’s Changed in Florida

Seth Shapiro
By: Seth Shapiro
Jul. 18 2020

What Is Sealing or Expunging A Criminal History Record:

A criminal history record is created when a person is arrested or charged with a crime and includes the details of the arrest, a record of court proceedings in the matter, and the disposition of the case (dismissal of charges before trial, not guilty, guilty, or other disposition).

Sealing or Expunging a criminal history record is a legal process that allows certain records to be hidden from public view.

Sealing and/or Expunging your criminal history record can improve your ability to pass a background check when looking for a job, applying for a mortgage or refinancing, applying for a credit card, or even when applying for school.

Florida Statutes (F.S.) Sections 943.0585 (Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records) and 943.059 (Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records) set forth the criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to have an adult or juvenile criminal history record sealed or expunged by a court.

 

What Has Changed In Florida:

Previous to October 2019, Florida law provided that an individual was not eligible to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged if they had ever been found guilty of any criminal offense (including traffic offenses such as a DUI) in any State in the US.  This meant that previously an individual found guilty of a crime outside of Florida would be ineligible to have their criminal history record in Florida sealed or expunged.

Now, Florida Laws have changed to ignore any out of State convictions (guilty verdicts) to determine eligibility to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged in Florida:

943.0585(1)(d) on Expunction now reads:

“The person has never, as of the date the application for a certificate of expunction is filed, been adjudicated guilty in this state of a criminal offense…”

943.059(1)(b)on Sealing now reads:

“The person has never, before the date the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty in this state of a criminal offense…”

We called the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the organization that issues the all important Certificate of Eligibility to Seal or Expunge a criminal history record, and confirmed that they are no longer checking for out of state convictions.  The FDLE indicated that they are only reviewing criminal history in Florida to determine eligibility under the revised law.  The FDLE indicated that the simplified background check should also speed up the FDLE eligibility process.

This change to the law makes many individuals who may have previously been ineligible to have a criminal history record sealed or expunged now eligible. 

 

How To Get Started:

  • Call us at 727-388-4736, Option 1 for New Clients, for a no obligation, free review to determine your eligibility.
  • No office visit required.
  • All paperwork is submitted electronically – contactless.
  • Flat fee for Sealing or Expunging your criminal record.
  • Simple Process: Take the fingerprint card we send you and get fingerprinted at any local law enforcement agency and; have two (2) documents we send you signed and notarized. Mail the documents back to us and the Morris Law Firm will take care of the rest.
  • Sealing or expunging your criminal record is a low cost investment in your future.

If you have a criminal record anywhere in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota) contact us to discuss Sealing and/or Expunging of your case. Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736, Option 1 for New Clients, to discuss your case directly with an attorney.