Seal or Expunge Your Record
Protect Your Most Important Asset – Your Good Name
Florida law just changed the rules to seal or expunge a criminal record. The new eligibility requirements to seal or expunge took effect on October 1, 2019. The biggest change is that out-of-state convictions no longer matter.
As long as your application is submitted after October 1, 2019, the new rules are being applied retroactively.
Now that out-of-state convictions are no longer being considered, more people will be eligible and FDLE takes less time to process the applications.
Attorneys to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Tampa, FL
If you are eligible, the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm can help you petition to seal or expunge your Florida criminal record without delay.
Our offices are conveniently located in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County. We also have a second office located in New Port Richey, across from the courthouse at the West Pasco Judicial Center.
We are experienced in sealing and expunging records throughout Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the surrounding areas of Tampa Bay including Hernando County, Sumter County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, FL.
We charge a $950.00 flat fee to help you seal or expunge the criminal record.
Only $475 is due to start and the second half of the attorney fees can be paid in 60 days. The flat fee includes the attorney fees for any required court appearance. Costs paid to third parties are extra.
Our services also include contacting data mining companies (like MugShots[dot]com, SecretPast[dot]com, Arrest[dot]com ) to demand they remove your mugshot from their websites. Never pay these companies money to remove your record because it then encourages them to add your mug shot to their sister sites.
Although you can attempt to seal or expunge your record without an attorney, hiring an experienced lawyer to help you through the process may save you time, money, and frustration. We work hard to make sure the process is completed as quickly as possible.
In this age of modern technology, any person with a computer can go to the website for the clerk of court or sheriff’s office where the arrest occurred. From those websites, anyone can simply type in your name to read embarrassing details of your arrest and see your mug shot.
Even more problematic, private data-mining companies (like MugShots[dot]com) will create a web page just for you showing your mug shot or arrest photo, criminal charges, and even a Google Maps photo of your house or arrest location. If you are eligible to seal or expunge your criminal record, this is one of the most important rights you have under Florida law.
Contact us today to discuss your case if you believe you are eligible to seal or expunge a criminal record in Florida.
The Process to Seal or Expunge the Arrest Record?
In order to protect your career and good name, it is critical that you begin the process to seal or expunge a criminal record as soon as possible. At Sammis Law Firm, our attorneys will guide you through the process from the first day that you hire us until the process is complete.
We fill out the paperwork, send it off to the appropriate agencies, prepare the petition and order for the judge’s signature, and schedule any court hearing in front of the judge as quickly as possible. Then we follow up to make sure the record is properly sealed or expunged without delay.
The only thing that you have to do is answer a few questions, sign the appropriate paperwork, and return the fingerprint card that we provide to you. The sooner you hire us, the sooner your criminal record will be sealed or expunged. Wondering if you are eligible?
Read the information below to determine whether you might be eligible. If you think that you are eligible, contact our office today by calling (813) 250-0500 for a free consultation to talk directly with us about the process of sealing or expunging your criminal record.
We represent clients who need to seal a criminal record or expunge a criminal record throughout the State of Florida including but not limited to the following counties: Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, Hernando County, Manatee County, Sarasota County and Hernando County, Florida.
How Long Does it Take to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record?
Processing petitions to seal or expunge criminal history records consumes considerable FDLE resources, as FDLE must verify all petitioners’ criminal histories both in and out of state.
According to an email from Ron Draa, Legislative Affairs Director, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Re: Sealing/Expunction Timeframes/Backlog (Jan. 28, 2019), at the end of the calendar year 2018, FDLE had approximately 8,300 pending certificate of eligibility applications.
The average turnaround time for processing a certificate of eligibility application was:
- 96 business days in 2016;
- 107 business days in 2017; and
- 144 business days in 2018.
Since the most recent changes to the statute, FDLE has a much shorter turnaround time on applications. As a result, the time it takes to seal or expunge a record has dropped from more than 9 months to less than 5 months in most cases.
Need Another Reason to Seal or Expunge Your Arrest Record?
Starting the process to seal or expunge your Florida criminal arrest record is more important than ever now that many law enforcement agencies are making it even easier for the general public to perform online searches for old arrest records.
For instance, before March of 2009, the website for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office published arrest information, including mugshots or booking photos, arrest charges, bond details, and other booking information for individuals arrested over only the past five years.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office recently changed this policy and now publishes electronic arrest information and mug shots for all individuals arrested since January 1, 1995. Records from the clerk’s office go back even further.
Other private companies now have the ability to download these online records into massive electronic databases. Law enforcement agencies in Polk County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, are also in the process of making this information more readily available online.
Now more than ever, it is important to seal or expunge your criminal record to protect your good name and rid yourself of the consequences of an old arrest. If you are eligible today, why wait?
Fees and Costs to Seal or Expunge the Criminal Record
We charge a flat rate to seal or expunge a criminal record of $950.00 plus costs. The costs vary depending on the county, the size of the file, or the number of charges being sealed or expunged.
Those costs include the $75 application fee to FDLE, the clerk’s fee to seal or expunge, and the cost to the clerk’s office for certified copies of the final disposition and order.
If you live in the Tampa Bay area you can come into our office to complete all the paperwork the same day that you retain us. The entire process takes about 45 minutes. If you live outside of the Tampa Bay area and would prefer to speak with the attorney by phone to complete the process, a phone consultation can be scheduled.
We then mail you the paperwork and fingerprint card the same day so that you can sign and return your portion of the paperwork to our office.
Getting Rid of the Mugshot in Florida after a Seal or Expunge
Keep in mind that sealing or expunging a record doesn’t completely make it disappear. In the age of the Internet, many people are disappointed to learn that the mugshot and arrest records cannot be scrubbed from online or print articles in the local newspapers.
The courts have no authority to direct or order the erasure of these private sector postings which are largely protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
In Florida, as in most states, the photograph customarily taken after an arrest is often referred to as a “mugshot.” A mugshot is a public record. “Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf…” FLA. CONST. art. I, s. 24.
Most county and municipal law enforcement agencies post mugshot photographs on their websites. Many data mining companies will scour the public records in Florida and post the arrest booking photographs on their private websites. Publishing these photographs on the internet can cause many problems for the person arrested even if they are later exonerated of the charges.
Many potential employers will conduct an internet search of a potential employee. Unfortunately, the search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo, often return the mug shot photo published by the data mining company as one of the top results.
Private mug shot websites often keep these photographs online even if the person was found not guilty or the charges were dropped. Some of these companies will remove the photograph and mug shot from their website for a fee which can be very expensive. Plus, the company will often remove the photo from one website but then add it to its sister websites.
Recently, other states have addressed the problem in a variety of different ways. Some states have passed laws that say public records cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Florida law does not impose civil or criminal penalties on entities that publish mug shots of individuals. Nevertheless, several statutes create civil remedies for similar behavior.
Florida Statute Section 540.08, prohibits a person from publishing, printing, displaying, or otherwise publicly using for purposes of trade or for any commercial or advertising purpose the name, portrait, photograph, or other likenesses of any natural person without the person’s express, written or oral consent.
Contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you seal or expunge your record and contact the data-mining companies to request that your mugshot and personal information be removed from their website.
· The Benefits of Having Your Florida Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged
· Eligibility to Seal or Expunge Your Florida Criminal Record
· Requirements to Seal Your Arrest Record
· List of Ineligible / Disqualifying Offenses
What is the benefit of having my Florida criminal record sealed or expunged?
Circuit and County Courts in Florida have continuing jurisdiction over criminal records which allows those courts to seal or expunge Florida criminal history information maintained by the court system and records maintained by Florida law enforcement agencies.
- Expunge – If your Florida record is expunged, then the records from the court and most records maintained by law enforcement will be physically destroyed, although a copy of the file will remain with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”).
- Seal – If your Florida record is sealed, then it remains confidential and the public will not have access to the record through any government databases.
Some government entities, including the police, however, have certain legal rights to access criminal records that are sealed under certain conditions.
If your Florida record is expunged, those same government entities that would have access to a sealed record would be told that a record was “expunged” but would not have access to the contents of the record maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) without a court order.
In either case, employers will not have access to the information through a background check.
Do I Have to Disclose a Sealed or Expunged Record?
Job applications typically ask if you have been arrested or entered a plea to a criminal offense. Florida law generally allows you to legally deny or fail to acknowledge an arrest that was sealed or expunged with a few exceptions.
Under the exception to this general rule, you can not deny or fail to acknowledge an arrest under one of the following circumstances:
- If you are applying to change your immigration status;
- If you are a defendant facing a pending charge;
- If you are applying for employment with a criminal justice agency;
- If you are applying for employment with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, any school board, any university laboratory school, and charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses childcare facilities;
- If you are applying for employment or use by such contractor or a licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly;
- If you are applying for employment or access to a seaport;
- If you are applying for admission to the Florida Bar; or
- If you are petitioning to seal or expunge a criminal record.
Hire a Tampa Florida Seal and Expunge Attorney to assist you with your case. The first step is obtaining a certificate of eligibility for expunction or sealing from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
After your criminal defense attorney obtains your certificate of eligibility, your lawyer will file a petition in the court that originally had jurisdiction over your case which states the grounds upon which the request is made and the official records which should be sealed or expunged.
For example, if you were arrested on a warrant in Pinellas County, for an offense that allegedly occurred in Hillsborough County, and you are a life-long resident of Polk County, then your petition to seal or expunge your Florida criminal record would be filed in Hillsborough County, Florida, because that is the county that originally had jurisdiction over your criminal offense.
The petition must be supported by an affidavit which states the facts that support the petition, and the Florida statutory grounds.
A copy of your certificate of eligibility will also be filed. The petition and affidavit will be served on the State Attorney’s Office in the division where the petition will be heard, the law enforcement agency that made the arrest, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The prosecutor or the law enforcement agency has the right to respond to the petition.
If a hearing in court before the judge is required, it is important to have an attorney experienced with the process to expunge and seal cases to represent you so that the chance can be minimized that your petition will be denied by the court.
You do not have an absolute right to have your records sealed or expunged even if you are eligible. Although rare, the court could deny the motion even if the prosecutor or law enforcement agency that made the arrest has no objection.
If your request is denied, you can appeal the denial by showing that the court abused its discretion in denying the petition, although showing an abuse of discretion is difficult.
Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney to go over your underlying offense, find mitigating factors, and talk with the prosecutor beforehand to ask them not to object.
An attorney can help you outline all of the reasons to the court that the petition to seal or expunge the criminal record should be granted.
Requirements to Expunge Your Record
If your case was resolved without a plea, then you may be eligible to have your Florida record expunged.
A case can be resolved without a plea if the court dismisses the charge, no information or formal charges were filed by the State Attorney’s Office, or the prosecutor filed charges but then dropped them (entered a nolle prosequi or nol pross).
If your Florida record is expunged, then the public does not generally have access to any records of the arrest or prosecution. Only those agencies that would otherwise have access to a sealed record would be advised of the fact that the record had been expunged, however, the contents of the record would not be released without a court order.
Instead, the agency would only receive a statement that “Criminal Information has been Expunged from this Record.”
Administrative Order S-2014-057 for Criminal Justice Division Procedures in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit for Hillsborough County, FL, became effective on January 1, 2015. The administrative order provides in Section 33 that when Sealing or Expunging Criminal Records, the following rules apply:
- All petitions and orders to expunge or seal criminal records will substantially comply with forms set forth in Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.989.
- If a felony criminal report affidavit is reduced to a misdemeanor and filed in the county court, that affidavit will also be sealed or expunged by the clerk and law enforcement agencies upon the entry of an order sealing or expunging the misdemeanor case which states both case numbers.
In some cases, your attorney can add to the seal or expunge a civil traffic infraction that occurred along with the criminal traffic infraction in the petition, affidavit, and order.
Requirements to Seal Your Record
If the court withheld adjudication after you entered a plea of guilty or no contest and you have no other convictions for any criminal offense, then you may be eligible to have your Florida record sealed. Certain offenses are not eligible to be sealed in Florida.
After a criminal record is sealed in Florida, the public will not have access to the record. After the record has been sealed for 10 years, it will then become eligible for expunction.
In some cases, the prosecutor might object to the sealing of the record because of the statutory language found in both ss. 943.0585 and 943.059, Fla. Stats., that provides: “A criminal history record that relates to a violation of…[.]” (emphasis added).
If the original charge is on the list of ineligible offenses, but the prosecutor dropped, reduced, or modified the original charge to another offense not on the list of ineligible offenses, then the prosecutor might argue the court is prohibited from sealing the record.
In other words, the prosecutor will argue that the arrest was “related to” an ineligible offense even though the defendant actually entered the plea to an offense that was eligible for sealing.
List of Ineligible or Disqualifying Offenses
What happens if you enter a plea, but the court withholds adjudication? You might be eligible to seal the record but not if it is on the following list:
- Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult as defined in s. 825.102;
- Aircraft piracy as defined in s. 860.16;
- Arson as defined in s. 806.01;
- Assault offenses defined in ss. 784.011 and 784.03, respectively, of one family or household member by another family or household member, as defined in s. 741.28(3);
- Aggravated assault as defined in s. 784.021;
- Battery offenses as defined in ss. 784.011 and 784.03, respectively, of one family or household member by another family or household member, as defined in s. 741.28(3);
- Felony battery as defined by 784.03,
- Domestic battery by strangulation as defined by s. 784.041;
- Aggravated battery as defined in s. 784.045;
- Burglary of a dwelling as defined in s. 810.02;
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse as defined in s. 827.03;
- Carjacking as defined in s. 812.133;
- Computer pornography offenses as defined in s. 847.0135;
- Drug trafficking as defined in s. 893.135;
- False imprisonment as defined in s. 787.02;
- Fraud violations of the Florida Communications Fraud Act as provided in s. 817.034;
- Human trafficking as defined in s. 787.06;
- Illegal use of explosives as defined in chapter 552;
- Kidnapping as defined in s. 787.01;
- Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age as defined in s. 800.04;
- Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person as defined in s. 825.1025;
- Luring or enticing a child as defined in s. 787.025;
- Manslaughter or homicide as defined in s. 782.07, s. 782.071, or s. 782.072;
- Manufacturing a controlled substance in violation of chapter 893;
- Murder as defined in s. 782.04, s. 782.065, or s. 782.09;
- Obscenity (certain acts) as defined in s. 847.0133;
- Offenses by public officers and employees for any offense defined in chapter 839;
- Procuring a person less than 18 years of age for prostitution as defined in former s. 796.03;
- Robbery offenses as defined in s. 812.13;
- Robbery by sudden snatching as defined by s. 812.131;
- Robbery by home invasion as defined in s. 812.135;
- Selling or buying of minors as defined in s. 847.0145;
- Sexual battery for any offense defined in chapter 794;
- Sexual misconduct under one of the following statutes:
- §393.135 – Sexual misconduct with any developmentally disabled person;
- §394.4593 – Sexual misconduct with the mentally ill person;
- §916.1075- Sexual misconduct by a covered person and a forensic client in the custody of the department or agency;
- Sexual performance by a child, as defined in s. 827.071;
- Stalking or aggravated stalking as defined in s. 784.048;
- Terrorism as defined in s. 775.30;
- Voyeurism or video voyeurism as defined in ss. 810.14 and 810.145, respectively;
- Any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, or sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration.
Rules to Seal or Expunge a Juvenile Record
Under certain circumstances, juvenile arrest records are sealed or expunged automatically or by operation of the law, without any petition or request being filed by the person with the juvenile record.
In those cases, the sealing or expunction of those records are not classified as a prior seal or expunge for purposes of later having an adult record sealed or expunged.
Additionally, if a juvenile enters a juvenile diversion program in exchange for having the charges dropped after the successful completion of the diversion program, then the expunction of those records does not count as a prior seal or expunge which would make an individual ineligible for a judicial sealing or expunction pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 943.059 or 943.0585.
Contact a Juvenile Defense Attorney in Tampa for more information about sealing or expunging a juvenile record in Florida.
Juvenile records are normally retained by the Criminal Justice Information Program (CJIP) until the offender’s 24th birthday, at which time the juvenile record will be expunged automatically unless one of the following exceptions apply:
- Forcible Felony Exception – If a person over the age of 17 is charged with or convicted of any forcible felony before the juvenile record has been automatically sealed or expunged, then the individual’s juvenile record will be merged with the adult record.
- Adjudication as an Adult for a Forcible Felony Exception – At any time, if the minor child is adjudicated as an adult for a forcible felony, then the juvenile’s criminal record that existed prior to the adjudication as an adult will be merged with the record for adjudication as an adult.
- Serious Juvenile Record Exception – Under Florida Statute Section 943.0515(1)(a), the Criminal Justice Information Program (CJIP) will keep the juvenile records until the offender’s 26th birthday if the juvenile is classified as one of the following:
- Habitual juvenile offender;
- Serious juvenile offender;
- Committed to a juvenile correctional facility; or
- Committed to a juvenile prison for five (5) years after the offender’s 21st birthday.
- Adjudication Delinquent for Any Juvenile Offense – Regardless of any of the provisions above, if the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for any offense, then the juvenile records shall be maintained.
Read more about the process to seal or expunge a juvenile record in Tampa, FL.
Getting Rid of the Mug Shot after a Seal or Expunge in Florida
In Florida, as in most states, the photograph customarily taken after an arrest is often referred to as a “mugshot.” A mugshot is a public record.
“Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf…” FLA. CONST. art. I, s. 24.
Most county and municipal law enforcement agencies post the mug shot photographs on their websites. Many data mining companies will scour the public records in Florida and post the arrest booking photographs on their private websites.
Publishing these photographs on the internet can cause many problems for the person arrested even if they are later exonerated of the charges. Many potential employers will conduct an internet search of a potential employee.
Unfortunately, the search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo, often return the mug shot photo published by the data mining company as one of the top results.
Private mug shot websites often keep these photographs online even if the person was found not guilty or the charges were dropped. Some of these companies will remove the photograph and mug shot from their website for a fee which can be very expensive.
Plus, the company will often remove the photo from one website but then add it to its sister websites.
Recently, other states have addressed the problem in a variety of different ways. Some states have passed laws that say public records cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Florida law does not impose civil or criminal penalties on entities that publish mug shots of individuals. Nevertheless, several statutes create civil remedies for similar behavior. Florida Statute Section 540.08, prohibits a person from publishing, printing, displaying or otherwise publicly using for purposes of trade or for any commercial or advertising purpose the name, portrait, photograph, or other likenesses of any natural person without either express, written, or oral consent.
The victim may bring an action to enjoin the unauthorized use and to recover damages for any loss or injury. Although a person may bring a civil suit alleging invasion of privacy, this cause of action would generally not apply in cases where the publication at issue was a public record.
The FDLE Denial Letter in a Seal or Expunge Case
Dear Mr./Ms. ____________,
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has received your (or your client’s) application for Certificate of Eligibility in accordance with sections 943.0585 or 943.059, Florida Statutes. A Certificate of Eligibility will not be granted for one or more of the following reason(s):
( ) The criminal history record, from Florida or another jurisdiction, reflects one or more adjudications of guilty for any felony or a qualifying misdemeanor criminal offense.
( ) The criminal history record reflects an adjudication of guilt for committing one or more of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the application pertains.
( ) The criminal history record reflects the existence of a prior expunction or sealing of a criminal history record under s.943.0585, s. 943.059, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058.
( ) The criminal history record to which the application pertains relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14 ,s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075 a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or a violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that the offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435., which may not be sealed or expunged, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld., if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense.
Your application for certification of eligibility to expunge or seal your criminal history record was denied for the reason(s) stated in this letter.
If you or your attorney determine that this basis for denial could possibly be negated, by seeking a court order or modifying the disposition of a criminal charge to remove the disqualifications it imposes, you should be aware that the criminal history record may disclose other criminal charge or charges for which disposition information has not been reported.
If you intend to pursue eliminating or remedying the state reason(s) for the denial of your application for certificate of eligibility, you should be aware that the disposition information missing from your record, if it is available, could result in the denial of your application on grounds completely separate and distinct from those listed in this letter.
If you believe that the denial of the application for a Certificate of Eligibility is in error, you may ask to have the denial reviewed. If the denial is based on the information in the applicant’s history record which you believe to be in error or incomplete, the procedure for review and correcting the record is given in Rule 11C-8.001, Florida Administrative Code.
If you agree that the application’s criminal history record is correct, but believe that the law has been incorrectly applied or interpreted in this case, the appeal procedure is given below.
To appeal a denial of Certification of Eligibility, file a motion or petition in the trial court in which the petition to expunge or seal would be filed, asking that court to review the Department’s denial of the application.
The motion or petition should be filed in the trial court within thirty (30) days of issuance of this letter. See Rowell v. State, 700 So. 2d 1242, 1243-1244 (Fla 2d DCA 1997).
A copy of the motion or petition should be served on the Office of General Counsel, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida, 32302-1489. If you have any questions, please contact the Expunge Section at (850) 410-7870. Filed with the Clerk of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
This _______ day of _______________________, 20________.
__________________________________, Deputy Clerk.
Is the Petition for an Injunction for Protection a Public Record?
The Florida legislature recently created new exemptions to the public record requirements which took effect on July 1, 2017.
Pursuant to 119.0714(k)(1), a petition, and the contents thereof, for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking, or cyberstalking is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution if, on or after July 1, 2017, if the injunction is:
- dismissed without a hearing;
- dismissed at an ex parte hearing due to failure to state a claim or lack of jurisdiction; or
- dismissed for any reason having to do with the sufficiency of the petition itself without an injunction being issued.
Pursuant to 119.0714(2), when a petition, and the contents thereof, for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking, or cyberstalking, that was not issued before July 1, 2017, is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution only upon request by an individual named in the petition as a respondent if the injunction is:
- dismissed without a hearing;
- dismissed at an ex parte hearing due to failure to state a claim or lack of jurisdiction; or
- dismissed for any reason having to do with the sufficiency of the petition itself.
The request must be in the form of a signed written request specifying the case name, case number, document heading, and page number. The request must be delivered by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission or in-person to the clerk of the court. A fee may not be charged for such a request.
Learn more about the process to obtain a copy of a sealed or expunged criminal record.
Areas We Serve
At the Sammis Law Firm, we help clients Seal or Expunge their criminal record throughout Central Florida, including:
- Hillsborough County, FL – Seal or Expunge a record at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City after an arrest in Apollo Beach, Balm, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Carrollwood Village, Dover, Gibsonton, Lithia, Lutz, Mango, Orient Park, Riverview, Ruskin, Seffner, Sun City Center, Temple Terrace, Thonotosassa, Valrico, Wimauma, and Ybor City.
- Pasco County, FL– Seal or Expunge a Criminal Arrest Record at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City after an arrest in Bayonet Point, Beacon Point, Elfers, Gulf Harbors, Holiday, Hudson, Lacoochee, Land O’ Lakes, Odessa, Port Richey, San Antonio, Shady Hills, St. Leo, Trinity, Wesley Chapel, and Zephyrhills.
- Pinellas County, FL – Seal or Expunge a Criminal Arrest Record of an arrest record or mug shot at the courthouse in St. Petersburg or Clearwater after an arrest in Bay Pines, Belleair, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Belleair Shore, Crystal Beach, Dunedin, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, Largo, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Pass-A-Grille Beach, Pinellas Park, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Safety Harbor, Seminole, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, Sunset Beach, Tarpon Springs, Tierra Verde, Treasure Island, and Ozona.
- Polk County, FL – Filing to seal or expunge a police record at the courthouse in Bartow or Lakeland after an arrest in Auburndale, Bartow, Davenport, Dundee, Eagle Lake, Fedhaven, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Haines City, Highland Park, Hillcrest Heights, Indian Lake Estates, Lake Alfred, Lake Hamilton, Lake Wales, Mulberry, Nalcrest, Polk City, Providence, and Winter Haven.
- Hernando County, FL – Sealing or expunging a record in Brooksville, Hernando Beach, Masaryktown, Ridge Manor, Spring Hill, and Weeki Wachee.
Keep in mind that under Florida Statute 28.246(6), the clerk is authorized to refer unpaid balances to a collection agent. This might add additional penalties of up to 40% of the amount owed. Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.245(5)(a), the Clerk of Court may notify the Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) of your failure to pay
financial obligations related to criminal offenses which will result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
The court will require that all fines and court costs are paid off before the case can be sealed or expunged.
How to Seal or Expunge Your Record in Florida for Free – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find out more about the process to seal or expunge a criminal history record in Florida. If you do it yourself, the process is free except for the application fee and costs. The FDLE website contains the expungement packet so that you can do it yourself and eliminate any money paid for attorney fees.
Expungement and Sealing Unit (ESU) of Hillsborough County – Visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court website to learn more about the process to seal or expunge your criminal history record(s). After we receive your Certificate of Eligibility from the FDLE, the completed forms are submitted to the Expungement and Sealing Unit (ESU) of the Clerk of the Circuit Court along with all monies due. For a felony, misdemeanor, or traffic case, the paperwork and payment is delivered in person to the ESU (Room 101) in the George Edgecomb Courthouse at 800 East Twiggs Street or by US mail to P.O. Box 1110, Tampa, FL 33601-1110. A copy of the petition must also be delivered to the Office of the State Attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Tampa, FL, and the arresting agency.
Florida Statute 943.0585 on Court-ordered Expunction – Visit the website of the Florida legislature to read Florida Statute 943.0585. Find information on the criminal procedures for the sealing or expunction of a criminal record to hide any documents related to the arrest, investigation, prosecution or final disposition of the case.
Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Hillsborough County, FL
Although you don’t necessarily need an attorney to seal or expunge a criminal record, an attorney can explain the eligibility requirements, make sure all eligible records are included in the application, and make sure that all of the eligible records disappear from the public view.
We represent clients that want to seal or expunge a criminal record quickly throughout the greater Tampa Bay area in Florida.
Our main office is located in Tampa in Hillsborough County. We also have a second office in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.
Contact us to find out the difference between a seal and expunge and the fastest way to complete the process. If you need a lawyer to seal or expunge your criminal record quickly, we can begin today.
Call us at (813) 250-0500.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.