The most frustrating part about sealing or expunging your criminal record in Florida is waiting on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement - or FDLE - processes sealing or expungement applications to determine whether the applicant is eligible. Your eligibility to seal or expunge your record will determine whether FDLE will issue a Certificate of Eligibility, which nearly all judges require before they sign an order to seal or expunge your record.
Unfortunately, FDLE is a governement agency, which means it operates on a government timeline. While you and I know how important it is to quickly seal or expunge your Florida arrest record, FDLE does not. They are understaffed and underfunded, which means processing delays for you.
If you or your sealing or expungement lawyer submitted your application to FDLE in late March 2016 or early April 2016, your application is just now being processed.
The delays are frustrating, but it's an unfortunate part of the process.
To avoid delays in the future you should begin the sealing or expungement process the moment you become eligible. If your case has been dismissed, begin the expungement process right away. If you have pleaded guilty or no contest and your sentence has been completed (such as your term or probation), begin sealing your record right away.
Eric Matheny is an attorney who seals and expunges arrest records in the following Florida counties:
Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Holmes, Indian River, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton, Washington