How to Seal Criminal Records in Florida

By Mike Bell
There are 38 crimes that will keep you from sealing your Florida criminal history.

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The sealing of criminal records in Florida is described in Florida Statutes 943.059. There are currently 38 offenses that, if convicted, automatically disqualify you from having your record sealed, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. If your conviction is not one of those 38 offenses, you must first obtain a certificate of eligibility and then you may petition a Florida court to seal your criminal record.

Fill out an Application for Certification of Eligibility. To seal criminal records in Florida, you must only fill out Section A. You must provide your name and contact information as well as the law enforcement agency that arrested you and the date of that arrest. List all charges on your record that you wish to have sealed.

Have the Application for Certification of Eligibility notarized. Be sure to sign the form in front of the notary.

Have your fingerprints taken by an authorized agency. You must get the FDLE Fingerprint Form filled out, which requires name, gender, race, date of birth and signature. Providing your Social Security number may help processing, but it is voluntary.

Obtain certified copies of the final orders from each of your charges you wish to have sealed. This can be ordered through the clerk of the court office in the county of your arrest.

Send the Application for Certification of Eligibility, as well as $75 in money order or cashier's check, to: Florida Department of Law Enforcement ATTN: Expunge/Seal Section P.O. Box 1489 Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489

Wait up to 60 days for a response from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

File a petition for sealing of your Florida criminal record. You will need to submit your eligibility certificate along with a sworn statement that you meet the eligibility criteria for having your records sealed. The court will notify the law enforcement agency involved with your case in case they wish to object.

Attend the court hearing, if the judge orders one to be held. You and a party of the state (a state attorney or the law enforcement agency) will argue why your records should or should not be sealed.

Have your records sealed, if the judge rules in your favor. The judge's order will be sent to all state agencies that had a copy of your criminal record. These records will now be legally sealed.

About the Author

Mike Bell has been writing professionally since 2006. He wrote for and edited the "Independent Florida Alligator," and has also contributed to the "St. Petersburg Times," "Orlando Sentinel" and "Miami Herald." With a Bachelor of Science in journalism, Bell is now a student at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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