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Do You Qualify For Florida Expungement or Sealing of Records?

The first step is to determine if you have a criminal record. If you have ever been arrested in Florida you have a criminal record, regardless of whether you were prosecuted or if the charges were dismissed.

do you qualify for florida expungementTo find out if you qualify for a Florida expungement, you must first determine what the outcome was. You can easily find this information by getting a copy of the final order issued by the court in your case from the clerk of courts in the county were the arrest took place, as all arrests are public record. We always check the clerk’s office website to see if we can determine this information for you and fully evaluate your case for the purpose of a Florida expungement. Certain counties in Florida do not have their records online and we may have to request paper copies. Also, if the case is from more than 20 years ago, it may not have been scanned in by the Clerk, so it will take longer to find out that information.

Florida law permits a person to seal or expunge the record of one arrest or criminal incident in a lifetime. Florida statute 943.0585 provides a list of eligibility requirements a person must meet in order to have a record expunged and certain offenses that are prohibited from being eligible for expungement or record sealing in Florida.

If your charge is not on the prohibited list and if you were not adjudicated guilty and have not had a prior case sealed or expunged, most likely you are eligible. We evaluate every case to make sure you qualify.

The eligibility requirements to expunge a criminal record in Jacksonville, Florida are identical to the eligibility requirements to seal a record, except that expungements have two additional conditions:

  • If you are seeking to expunge your record immediately, there must not have been an indictment, information, or other charging document filed in your case, or, if one was filed, the case must have resulted in a dismissal by the state attorney or by the court. If your case proceeded to trial, you are not eligible for expungement of your criminal record.
  • If the record has been successfully sealed and a period of 10 years has passed since the date it was sealed, you may be eligible to petition for expungement of the criminal record.

The Process of Sealing / Expungement in our office

When we receive a call about a sealing or expunging of a record, we first ask several questions.

  1. Have you ever been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a criminal offense, and
  2. Have you ever sealed or expunged a record before?

In order to determine if you qualify to seal or expunge your criminal record, we first have to determine if you have any criminal history.  This includes both arrests, entries of the plea and dropped cases. This would also include any out of state criminal history.

If your answer to both questions above is no, your case is given to the attorney for further review. Once it is determined that you qualify, we will need several things from you before we can start the sealing or expunging of your case.

The Florida expungement process process may take between 6 to 8 months. To make the process easier for the client, everything can be done via email or mail. You won’t ever need to step foot in our office unless you want to.

In order to start the process, we will need the following from you:

  • $3 money order for the Clerk (for certified copy of disposition notice)
  • $75 money order for FDLE (for processing Application)
  • Completed FDLE Application for Certification of Eligibility (all information may be collected by phone or email; but it must be notarized and we need the original)
  • Completed fingerprint card (which will be provided to you via email)

Once we have these items, we will request the certified copy of the disposition from the Clerk. Once we receive this, we will forward the appropriate paperwork to the State Attorney’s Office for processing. This is only required for expungements. After this step, the application goes to the FDLE for processing. This step is what takes the longest. It can take the FDLE anywhere from 4-5 months to process the application; it just depends on how many applications they receive for processing.

Once we receive the approved Certificate of Eligibility, this will need to be forwarded to the Clerk along with an Affidavit, Petition and Order. You will have to sign the Affidavit in Support of Petition to Seal or Expunge Record in front of a Notary. We can email this to you to complete or you can come into our office and sign it as we have a Notary in our office. Once we have the completed Affidavit, these documents get filed for review by the Judge. When the Judge signs the Order, the Clerk sends us a final invoice for processing these documents. This fee is usually around $60, depending on the Clerk, and must be paid before the sealing or expungement is final. Once everything has been processed, you will receive a certified original copy of the Order Sealing or Expunging Record. It is important that you put this Order somewhere safe and do not misplace it. Once the case has been sealed or expunged, there is no way to request another copy of this Order, without “unsealing the case.”

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WE CAN HELP YOU!

Contact our office today to speak with an experienced attorney about how we can help you with expungement or sealing of your criminal record.

The Law Offices of Kate Mesic, PA
6550 St Augustine Rd #305
Jacksonville, FL 32217
Phone: (904) 619-2510
Email: kate@mesiclaw.com