Before you decide to have an arrest record sealed or expunged, there are
5 things (in my opinion) that you should consider:
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
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.
to discuss sealing or expunging your record.