Seal a Criminal Record in Pasco County
We charge $950 to seal or expunge a criminal record in Pasco County, FL, which includes all of the attorney fees, even if a court appearance is required.
Section 943.059 of the Florida Statutes governs the sealing of criminal history records. An individual will be entitled to have a criminal history sealed as long as he or she meets certain criteria including:
- obtains a certificate of eligibility for sealing from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);
- has never been adjudicated guilty of any charge in Florida including the one sought to be sealed; and
- has not previously secured sealing or expunction of any other criminal history.
Florida recently changed the rules for sealing a record because convictions that occurred outside the State of Florida no longer matter. That rule change means more people are not eligible to seal or expunge a record.
The courts in Pasco County, FL, have specific rules and procedures that apply to any petition to seal or expunge a criminal record. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm understand how to navigate those rules so that your petition can be granted by a judge in New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, FL.
Attorney to Seal a Criminal Record in New Port Richey, FL
If you want to seal or expunge a criminal record in Pasco County, FL, then you have come to the right place. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm have an office conveniently located in New Port Richey, FL, across from the courthouse at the West Pasco Judicial Center.
We can help you complete the process from beginning to end as quickly as possible. We charge a flat fee of $950 which covers ALL of the attorney fees and including attending any hearing in front of the judge. In fact, attorneys in other parts of the state often contact us about attending their hearings in Pasco County, FL.
When you contact our office, we will take your information and immediately email you the documents needed to retain the firm. You can sign the documents electronically so that we can begin the process the same day.
If a hearing on your petition to seal or expunge the record is required by the court, we can represent you at the hearing. Don’t face the court alone, contact us to speak with an attorney about the fastest and most convenient way to start the process of sealing or expunging your criminal record today.
What is the Effect of Sealing a Criminal History Record?
The effect of the sealing of criminal records is to render the criminal record confidential and available only to the person who is the subject of the record, his or her attorney and certain criminal justice agencies. § 943.059(4).
Once sealed, a defendant can legally deny its existence, except in certain limited circumstances. Id.
What is the Difference Between Sealing or Expunction in Florida?
Sealing and expunging are oftentimes used interchangeably, but under Florida law, they are not the same. See Anderson v. State, 692 So.2d 250, 253 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997) [22 Fla. L. Weekly D1006b].
While Section 943.059 of the Florida Statutes governs the sealing of criminal history records, another statute, section 943.0585 of the Florida Statutes, governs the expunction of criminal records.
The primary difference between sealing and expunging is that the effect of expunging is to require any criminal justice agency having custody of the subject criminal history record to “physically destroy or obliterate” it. § 943.0585(4), Fla. Stat. (2018).
Florida law also requires different criteria to be eligible for expunction. § 943.0585(1), (2).
When is a Hearing Necessary on a Petition to Seal?
Where a defendant meets the statutory criteria for sealing under section 943.059, the defendant is presumptively entitled to have criminal records sealed. Grey v. State, 119 So.3d 988, 989 (Fla. 2016).
Where a defendant meets the statutory criteria to be eligible to have his or her records sealed, the Court may only deny it if a court finds, after a hearing, that there is good reason to do so. Orozco v. State, 920 So.2d 208 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006).
A “court may receive evidence on any issue of fact necessary to rule on a petition.” Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.692(b).
In other words, the Court need not conduct a hearing when it grants a Petition to Seal. But in some cases, the court will use its discretion to grant the State a hearing based upon its written response provided in accordance with Rule 3.692(b). So although a hearing is not required, the State Attorney might be able to obtain a hearing in some types of circumstances.
What is the Purpose of Sealing a Criminal Record in Florida?
In Florida, the purpose of sealing a criminal history record is to provide “a second chance to criminal defendants who have not been adjudicated guilty.” State v. D.H.W., 686 So.2d 1331, 1336 (Fla. 1996).
The purpose must be weighed against the policy of public access to the courts as contemplated by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America. Id.
While courts must examine the constitutionality of a requested order to seal, the balancing of these public policy concerns is “usually sufficiently accomplished by following the procedures in Rule 3.692 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure” which applies to both sealing and expunging criminal records.
Read more about the process to seal or expunge a criminal record in Pasco County, FL.
How to Seal a Pasco Criminal Record
For cases in Pasco County, our attorneys will complete the packet to seal or expunge which consists of an application for certification of eligibility that we prepare for your signature. We also provide you with a fingerprint card that you must take to an authorized law enforcement personnel or a criminal justice agency.
Our attorneys will obtain a certified copy of the final disposition from the Pasco Clerk & Comptroller’s office. For certified copies of the final disposition, the clerk’s office charges $1 per page and $2 per certification.
Our attorneys then submit your completed application, fingerprint card, and certified copies with a money order or cashier’s check in the amount of $75 to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to the address provided in the application.
If FDLE determines that you are eligible to have your case record sealed or expunged, we will obtain your certificate of eligibility.
After we receive the Certificate of Eligibility, we provide the documents to the court including the petition, affidavit, and proposed order to seal or expunge.
The court might require a hearing at one of the Court Operations locations at the West Pasco Judicial Center located at 7530 Little Road in New Port Richey, FL, 34654, or the Robert D. Sumner Judicial Center located at Live Oak Avenue in Dade City, FL, 33523-3805.
Information for Sealing or Expunging a Record – Visit the website of the Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller to find information listed in a PDF to help you with navigating the process of requesting a criminal history record to be sealed or expunged. You can also use the Legal Resource Center to find related forms. The links to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website to find the complete instructions to determine eligibility to have your case record sealed or expunged. The Pasco County Clerk of Court provides information about finding an attorney by contacting the referral service of the West Pasco County Bar Association or the East Pasco Bar Association.
This article was last updated on Friday, April 3, 2020.