Criminal Expungement Law Provides Clean Slate to Escape Past Mistakes!

Do you feel trapped in a cruel Catch-22 by some past mistake resulting in a criminal record that can seriously impede current and future ability to succeed? If so, there’s no need to give up hope or feel lost and alone.

Alarming Stats Reveal Why Seal and Expunge in Florida is Critical

An official National Employment Law Project report published in April 2015 revealed that at least 29 percent of all Americans have criminal records. NELP reported even more disturbing news two years earlier that nearly half of pre-hire FBI rap sheets are incomplete, as such files delete final case dispositions for charges listed in connection with the subject’s initial arrest. This disgracefully excessive rate of error reportedly places an estimated 600,000 qualified job applicants at severe disadvantage each year in just the U.S. Fortunately, Sunshine State residents have a powerful legal ally to escape such huge webs of past mistakes mixed with present lies and half-truths.

Florida Revised Statute Provides Legal Protection from Your Past

Florida Statutes § 943.059 provides in relevant part as follows:

“… [C]ourts of this state shall continue to have jurisdiction over their own procedures, including … sealing and correction of judicial records containing criminal history…”. Any court … may order a criminal justice agency to seal the criminal history record of an adult or minor…”.

Two exceptions to above-cited provisions are some crimes that require sex offender registration and subsequent convictions not directly related to first-time charges.

Process Begins Via Florida Seal and Expunge Packet

Per state law, you must obtain a Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement Certificate of Eligibility before petitioning the court to seal and expunge an adult criminal history. FDLE Seal and Expunge Packets may be obtained from all sixty-seven County Court Clerks located within the state. If you reside outside of Florida, contact the proper County Clerk’s Office to request an FDLE seal and expunge package sent by U.S. Mail.

After providing all required data on each printed form, Section A must be signed before a notary public. A complete set of fingerprints taken by a law enforcement officer or agency must also be included with your full legal name, DOB, gender, race, SSN and signature on the fingerprint card. Finally, a nonrefundable $75.00 fee paid by cashier’s check or money order payable to FDLE must accompany the application that takes up to 90 working days for processing. For more details, visit

Next Step Proceeds by Court Petition for Criminal Record Expungement

After receiving an FDLE Certificate of Eligibility, you may petition the sentencing court for criminal history expungement. Certified copies of the expungement order are then sent to FDLE that will notify arresting agency(ies) that records have been sealed by court order. Note that receiving a Certificate of Eligibility is not the last step and doesn’t guarantee your criminal record will be expunged or sealed, as Florida law vests courts with sole discretion to make the final decision.

Important Points to Note Regarding Florida Expungement Statute

Seal vs. Expunge

Sealed criminal histories are not publicly accessible but some government agencies and related entities may still review its entirety under specific circumstances set forth in FRS § 943.059(4)(a). By contrast, expunged criminal records may not be accessed by governmental or any other entity(ies) without a court order.

Appeal Seal or Expunge Denials

If you feel FDLE denied a Certificate of Eligibility based on erroneous or incomplete criminal history data, you may petition for review and correction of the record pursuant to Florida Administrative Code Rule 11C-8.001. If you agree FDLE relied on accurate information, you can appeal an Eligibility Certificate denial to a court of competent legal jurisdiction.

What About Gubernatorial Pardons?

A formal pardon or other type of executive clemency doesn’t seal or expunge the underlying criminal record unless the document granting relief explicitly provides as such.

Civil Rights Restoral Cannot Remove Criminal Record

Restored civil rights don’t remove a felony criminal record that was the basis of initial loss of civil rights. Felonious offenses are ineligible for sealing or expungement under Florida law, regardless of whether civil rights are restored.

Prior Out-of-State Convictions Not Prohibitions

As of July 1, 2013, previous seal or expungement of a non-Florida conviction does not disqualify petitioners from having Florida criminal records sealed or expunged.

Preview Criminal Records Before Petitioning for Court Removal

By federal and state law, you have a right to review your criminal history to verify its accuracy and completeness. This is called a ‘personal review,’ and FDLE does not charge the subject any fee to review their own file. While a personal review is not mandatory to request a Certificate of Eligibility or have a criminal history expunged or sealed, it’s advisable to prevent delays caused by post-denial appeal based on erroneous or incomplete data.

Florida Expungement Cost Quite Well-Justified

Criminal records can and do follow you for life, in more ways than you might think.

Criminal Past Hurts Job Search

Just one chief case in point is a single bad decision made decades before as sole basis that puts many job opportunities permanently beyond reach. This applies especially to career paths that require professional licensure or certification. A few prime examples are teaching, law, medicine, childcare, security personnel, law enforcement and financial services. Even retail positions that entail handling money or sensitive financial details such as banking and credit card data are out of the question. Indeed, some ‘menial’ jobs like janitor are off-limits for those who can’t pass background checks to obtain bonding before given access to areas where others’ valuables are stored. Florida criminal record expungement costs pale in comparison to just one year or month’s average wages lost from ineligibility for such positions.

Criminal History Limits Housing Availability

Assume for a moment you’re among very few fortunate ones who somehow manage to slip through the cracks and obtain a job that fits your education and experience qualifications. Everyone needs a roof over their head, right? It’s very hard to arrive at an office fresh and alert for another day’s work after getting up from lying on a park bench or concrete sidewalk for several hours without a wink of sleep all night.

Thus, you must find a nice place to live that’s located as close to your job as possible. Depending on personal circumstances, you might also have to stay near childcare, medical or public transit facilities. After an exhaustive hunt, you finally locate the ideal residence that can fill every bill to a perfect ‘T’ with relatively low monthly cost. But it was actually lost long before $50 wasted on rental application fees, as most landlords don’t accept occupants with criminal records.

So, it’s back to ground zero at square one where it began and starts all over again. Until you may find some dump on far outskirts of town where drive-by shootings, violent assaults, vandalism and carjacking are par for the course. With extra travel expense and time factored into the equation, it adds up to perpetual economic exploitation by the same criminal “just us” system you must heavily on for protection.

Prior Crime Allegations Haunt Intimate Relations

Despite how bad things might seem or even be, we all need TLC from time to time. Indeed, that’s perhaps especially true for those who feel down about how life has treated them by essentially being cheated out of present happiness due to past error. After all, longer hours spent working hard to make ends barely meet leaves very little time for club hopping and bar jumping in hopes of meeting that Special Someone. Thus, Virtual Reality has gained much popularity among older and young Digital Age single sets to mingle with others of the same or other sex via an online dating venue.

Very recent stats published by Pew Research Center in February 2016 reveal that high-tech digital apps and Smartphones in particular, have transformed how people seek out and establish long-term romantic partnerships. According to Pew authors, few U.S. adults polled in 2005 had experienced online dating but 15 percent reported having visited online dating sites or using mobile dating apps by 2016. Moreover, public opinion has changed during the last decade from prevailing notions that viewed online platforms as subpar meeting places to a progressively more positive attitude. While 2005 majority consensus held online dating as for ‘the desperate,’ more than half of 2016 respondents said they knew someone who met a partner or spouse via online dating sites.

Furthermore, 18-to 24-year-old respondents who reported online dating encounters nearly trebled from 10 percent in 2013 to at least 27 percent just three years later. During that same timeframe, 55- to 64-year-olds who claimed previous usage of online dating sites or mobile apps rose from 6 to 12 percent between 2013 and 2016.

Despite positive indications cited above, directly opposed observations can be sighted by those with a checkered past looking for love on vast landscapes of Cyberspace as strong recommendations to all parties to do prelim background investigations. This can kill romance before it ever gets a chance to grow by nipping all trust in the bud.

Web-based criminal records search vendors eagerly offer instant results that vary widely in reliability with no guarantee of accuracy. Mere appearance of impropriety can be far worse than actual facts. Nonetheless, such is the double-edged power of digital technology when it comes to intimate matters of the heart.

Prior Criminal Record Can Preclude Higher Learning Pursuits

A growing number of U.S. colleges and universities have revised admissions policies to require full disclosure of criminal history information during initial application. This practice is more common for professional schools and graduate degree programs that traditionally require candidates to meet higher academic and personal standards.

The obvious primary reason is correspondingly greater realistic earnings potential that such an advanced education credential affords long after graduation. Another cited cause of recently heightened concern is an on-campus tragedy at the University of Alabama in 2010 when Professor Amy Bishop fatally shot three colleagues and wounded three bystanders after she became enraged over being denied tenure. Subsequent investigation revealed Bishop’s past history of violence and aggression, as evidenced by one previous occasion when she shot her own brother while cleaning a handgun that local police detectives later deemed accidental.

Consequently, many schools have implemented new rules that automatically deny admission or on-campus housing to students with criminal records. Even if admitted by your desired educational institution or program, a criminal record can result in denial of scholarship, grant and work-study financial assistance. Needless to say, this can mean de facto admission denial by inability to pay tuition and attendance costs. Which in turn equates to long-term cost of permanently lost income potential.

Conclusion Reveals Effective Solution to Expunge Florida Criminal Records

As foregoing discussion should vividly illustrate, various costs of a criminal record combine into huge loss that continue to recur for an entire lifetime. Thus, you have no valid ground to wait another second to begin exiting this vicious misery-go-round by contacting a qualified Florida expungement lawyer.