Wed. Dec 7th, 2022


A criminal record typically consists of the arrest record maintained by the local county Sheriff’s office, and the court record of the formal charges  How to clear criminal record by the State maintained by the local county Clerk of the Court. There may also be other records on the criminal charge held by the State Attorney’s Office. Whether or not an individual was convicted of the crime, and regardless of the plea entered, there may still be a criminal record.

In the state of Florida, a criminal record will remain public if steps are not taken to have it erased. The legal procedure to have a criminal record permanently erased is known as expungement.

Individuals may want to have their criminal record expunged as information about their arrest (including a booking photo) and charges may be available to the public. Examples of where a criminal record may be visible include on background checks run by potential employers, as well as by universities and or colleges where an application has been submitted. Additionally, criminal record information may be available to any member of the public who searches the internet thoroughly. This information may hamper an individual’s ability to obtain employment, enter a university, or even obtain a loan.

Expunging a criminal record resolves the issues illustrated above. When a record is expunged in the state of Florida, it means that the record is physically destroyed by the local Clerk of the Court and law enforcement agencies as applicable. Only a copy of the record will be kept with the Florida Department of Law enforcement (FDLE), and while the FDLE can reveal the existence of an expunged record, it cannot actually reveal what is in that record except under very limited circumstances. Additionally, information regarding the expunged charge is removed from the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), so that it does not come up on any background checks.

The process to expunge a criminal record can be complex and time consuming. Exacting steps must be taken within a detailed process involving the court system and multiple law enforcement agencies. With the above in mind, it is important to understand the process involved in expunging a criminal record in Florida, and to consider retaining a criminal defense attorney to ensure that the process is completed correctly to make certain that your criminal record is properly expunged. Additionally, a criminal defense attorney can check an individual’s eligibility to have their record expunged before starting the process.

The Expunction Process in Florida

Fla. Statute Section §943. 0585 lays out the entire process and requirements relevant to expunging a criminal record in the State of Florida. The first requirement is to submit an application to the FDLE for a Certificate of Eligibility. The application must be filled out and signed in front of a notary public. The applicant also is required to be fingerprinted by authorized law enforcement personnel, pay a $75 fee, and to include a certified final disposition of the case obtained from the Clerk of the Court.

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