The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is responsible for processing applications to seal or expunge criminal records in the State of Florida.
However, like most government agencies, efficiency is not their thing.
As of this morning, it appears that FDLE is still processing applications to seal or expunge arrest records that were submitted back in April 2013.
This means that you can expect longer processing times due to the volume of applications that FDLE is handling as well as the lack of personnel available to process applications at an expedited rate.
The total length of time it now takes to seal or expunge a record is going to be closer to eight months, as opposed to six (which used to be the average wait time).
Remember, expunging a record is different than sealing a record and can often take longer due to the fact that the State Attorney’s Office must first approve the application before it can be submitted to FDLE. For sealing a record, FDLE can receive the application immediately, thereby reducing some of the wait time.
However, when it comes to sealing a record, FDLE must take a close look at the case history to make sure that if you did probation for the charge, your probation was terminated.
Also if you have more than one arrest (although you may only seal or expunge one arrest), FDLE must take a close look at your criminal background to make certain that you have never been convicted (adjudicated) of any criminal offense and that you have never sealed or expunged a record previously.
The point is, more and more people are sealing or expunging their Florida criminal records because nobody wants to have to disclose an arrest to a prospective employer. Due to the lack of FDLE processors, the delays will only continue. The best advice I can give is start the sealing or expunging process as early as possible. Don’t wait until a week before that job interview.