The days of getting your sealing or expungement completed in three months are over. The backlog is tremendous, and FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) just doesn’t have enough employees to process all applications in a timely fashion.
Remember, expunging a record is different than sealing a record. Expunging actually takes a little more time because you need the approval of the State Attorney’s Office, which adds anywhere from six weeks to almost three months to the process.
Sealing a record does not require the approval of the State Attorney’s Office. This could shorten the processing time a little bit.
The main factor in the slow processing time of sealing or expunging records in Florida is FDLE. Think about how many people in Florida are trying to clean their criminal records. Processors have to review every application, scan each set of fingerprints, and run the criminal history checks of all applicants to ensure that they are eligible to seal or expunge. The FDLE processing is the longest part of the sealing or expunging procedure, usually four to five months by itself.
The key is, get your sealing or expungement done as soon as possible. Given the long processing time, the sooner you begin, the sooner your record is clean.
The most common reason people give for sealing or expunging their criminal records is employment. If you are planning on applying for a new job within the next year, make sure you begin the process of cleaning your record now so that you may legally deny your arrest when you go to apply for your new job.
I am happy to seal or expunge a record in any Florida county. You only get one sealing or expungement in your lifetime so choose wisely. I always advise that you get the most serious charge off of your record, provided you are eligible.
Eric Matheny is a criminal attorney who seals and expunges records in all Florida counties. Call Attorney Eric Matheny to discuss your eligibility.