1) Do I need to get my record sealed or expunged?
2) Have I been convicted (adjudicated) of the offense I wish to seal or expunge? If you received a conviction (adjudication) for any charge, you cannot get your record sealed or expunged. This counts even if the charge you don't want to seal or expunge was dismissed. If you have any conviction on your record for anything criminal (including criminal traffic matters) you cannot get your record cleaned in the State of Florida.
3) Is the offense I wish to seal an qualifying offense? If the charge was dismissed (nolle prossed or no actioned), you may expunge the record if you are otherwise eligible. If you wish to seal (that means that you received a withhold of adjudication for the charge), you must first find out if the State of Florida will allow you to seal your record.
4) How much does a sealing or expungement cost? In Florida, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) requires a $75.00 fee for a certificate of eligibility. Additionally, many clerks' offices (including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) charge $42.00 to file the petition. Add $3 - $7 for a certified copy of your criminal history and you can estimate about $125.00 in costs. This does not include the fee paid to an expungement attorney. Many firms charge upwards of $750.00, some even $1,000.00. I charge a flat rate of $625.00 with no hidden costs. This includes all of your expenses.
5) How long does the whole process take? On average, 4 - 6 months. Sometimes it may take longer if FDLE has a backlog of applications. My advice is to be patient. If you qualify, your record will be cleaned in no time.
I understand the urgency for many sealing or expungement applicants. Most people want to clean their records so that potential employers will not find out about a past mistake.
If you get your record sealed or expunged, you may legally deny the arrest. However, some agencies and organizations are entitled to know about your criminal history, even if it was sealed or expunged.
Everyday, I assist clients as they clean their records. Perhaps I can help you take care of yours as well. Call me to discuss sealing or expunging your record.