The number of times you have been arrested is insignificant when it comes to sealing or expunging your criminal record in Florida.
So long as those arrests did not result in convictions, or adjudications of guilt.
Florida law is very strict and very specific when it comes to your eligibility to seal or expunge your criminal record.
You can have no convictions on your record of any kind. This means no felony convictions, no misdemeanor convictions, no criminal traffic convictions, and no juvenile convictions.
Many people mistakenly believe that what happens when you are a juvenile does not impact your adult life. That is not true, especially in the context of criminal law.
Not only can juvenile prior offenses be used as a determining factor in sentencing on your adult cases, but if you have a conviction on your juvenile record, you will be deemed ineligible to seal or expunge an adult record.
Florida law doesn’t focus on the arrest that you are trying to seal or expunge. Florida, through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), looks at your entire criminal history when deciding whether to issue you a certificate of eligibility.
This means that if you have a conviction on your record from anywhere in the United States, at any time in your life, you are automatically ineligible from have your record expunged or sealed.
This specifically includes juvenile arrests. If you were arrested as a juvenile (under 18), you should check your juvenile criminal history to make sure that none of those arrests resulted in a conviction.
FDLE has access to your entire criminal history. If you have been convicted of a crime, even a juvenile or misdemeanor offense, FDLE will find it.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney assisting clients with the sealing or expungement of their criminal records throughout the State of Florida.