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Expungement/Sealing Update: FDLE Backlog Leads To Delays In Processing

When it comes to sealing or expunging criminal records, applicants always want to know how long does the entire process take?

Under normal circumstances, I would say that the process, from start to finish, takes between three and six months.

But these days, FDLE - the government agency that processes sealing or expungement applications - is backed up with applications. This could be due to the poor job market, as job seekers are eager to get their records clean in order to make them more attractive to employers.

I just spoke with a representative the other day from FDLE's Expunge Section, who advised me that applications received by FDLE in June of this year are now being processed.

Delays are cyclical. As thousands of applications are sent in, only so many staff members are there to process them. The process within FDLE requires staff members to carefully run background checks on all applicants to ensure that they are eligible to have their records sealed or expunged.

I know that you want your record cleaned as soon as possible, but understand that sealing or expunging a record requires the cooperation of government agencies that can only work so quickly.

Remember - sealing or expunging a record is done in steps. FDLE processing is just one of those steps. However, it is the most time-consuming.

I will keep you updated regarding any further delays. But to be safe, I am now advising clients that sealing or expunging may take between six and eight months.

If you are planning on sealing or expunging, I advise that you get started sooner rather than later.

Eric Matheny is an attorney who seals and expunges criminal records throughout the State of Florida.