Florida Expungement Process

The expungement process is essentially four, sometimes five steps:

The process of sealing a record is a long multi-step process that involves three governement agencies, including the Flordia Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the prosecutor (which is usually the district attorney) and the court of proper jurisdiction.


Obtain the State Attorney’s approval on the petitioner’s application for a certificate of eligibility (CoE);


Submit the approved application for a CoE to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);


Once the FDLE issues the CoE, submit that along with several other court filings to the clerk for the judge to sign;


Have a hearing on the petition to expunge criminal history records (this step is not required in every instance and varies from county to county);


Have the signed order expunging the criminal history record sent to the relevant agencies and government departments who have a record of the criminal record (does not apply to civil records of the incident, such as those retained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.)


FL Expungement Facts


How long does it take to expunge a record in Florida

  Expungement typically takes betwee 4 to 7 months. Most of the time is spent waiting for the government agencies to process paperwork and schedule a court hearing. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to expedite the work at the government agencies. The best thing that a person can do is make sure the paper work is done right the first time so that the process is not delayed or required to be restarted, and have an attorney ready to attend the first available court date that the court offers.

What is the difference between expungement and record sealing in Florida?


The big difference is how restricted access to the records is.  Florida record sealing does not mandate that certain government agencies to actually “destroy” their records, whereas a court order expunging records does require that the records be destroyed.  After the record is sealed, the public will not have access to the person’s criminal record through criminal justice agencies (except for government officials). Both sealing and expungement of a record removes the information from public criminal justice agency records.  Both require that the information be made confidential.  Expungment goes one step further and physically destroys the records of arrest.  Once expunged, the only way for the public to access an expunged record would be through a court order. (F.S. 943.0585( 4) and F.S. 943.059(4)). Both remedies provide a great benefit for those looking to put the past behind them and reduce the chances of unfair discrimination

  Read more answers to common questions about expungement.


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