Under Florida law, a criminal record cannot be sealed or expunged if the accused was given an adjuciation, or conviction.
This applies to both felony and misdemeanor charges. An adjudication cannot be sealed or expunged from your record. Also, if you have a prior adjudication and try to seal or expunge a subsequent arrest that would otherwise be eligible, you cannot do so because a prior conviction will prevent you from ever sealing or expunging your record.
I get phone calls from people who, upon their release from prison, want to seal or expunge their criminal history.
First off, remember that you expunge a criminal history that has been dismissed. This occurs when the State of Florida declines to file formal charges (called a "no action," or "no information"), or the State of Florida dismisses the charges after the prosecution commences (called a "nolle prosse").
You seal a criminal history where a withhold of adjudication has been imposed on a qualifying offense. You must also be done with the sentence before you seal (if you are on probation, probation must be completed).
Secondly, if you have been released from prison, that means that you have been convicted. Only convicted felons are sentenced to prison in Florida.
If you are a convicted felon, you may be able to restore your civil rights, or receive a pardon.
Here is what FDLE has to say about pardons, civil rights restoration, and sealing/expunging a criminal record:
If I receive a full pardon can I have my criminal history record sealed or expunged?
Unless the pardon indicates on its face that it entitles the record subject to seal or expunge his or her criminal history record, the granting of a full pardon does not remove any condition of ineligibility for sealing or expunging a criminal history record imposed by the disposition of the pardoned offense. See Randall v. Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 791 So. 2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001).
If I receive clemency, will my record be automatically expunged?
No. Neither a full pardon, nor any other type of clemency, will automatically expunge or facilitate the expungement of your criminal record. You should contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the expungement or sealing of records.
If I have my civil rights restored, will my criminal history record disappear?
No. In order to have your civil rights restored you had to have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony that was the basis for your loss of civil rights. Persons who have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony are not eligible for a seal or expunge of their criminal history under Florida law, regardless of whether their civil rights have been restored.
If you are interested in clemency, pardons, or civil rights restoration, click here.
I practice criminal defense in Miami-Dade County and Broward County. I assist clients in sealing or expunging their records all the time.
If I can help you to clean your criminal record, call me today.