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Administrative Sealing of Criminal Records

Effective July 1, 2017, SB 118 creates s. 943.0586, F.S., which announces the new rules to automatically administratively seal certain types of criminal records but it only impacts the way the Criminal Justice Information Program of the FDLE and the way it transmits criminal justice information between criminal justice agencies.

Those records will still be displayed on the website of the agency that made the arrest and the clerk of court website in the county where the case was prosecuted.

The new legislation requires the Criminal Justice Information Program, within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), to administratively seal the criminal history records pertaining to an arrest or incident of alleged criminal activity of an adult or minor if all of the charges:

    • Were declined to be filed by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor (often called the “no file” case);
    • Were dismissed by the judge before trial;
    • Were dropped by the prosecutor before trial through a “nolle prosequi” (nol pross) before trial;
    • Resulted in a “judgment of acquittal” after the state concludes its case if the evidence in the light most favorable to the state is insufficient for conviction (often called the “JOA”); or
    • Resulted in a verdict of “not guilty” at trial.

The record cannot be administratively sealed before all appeals by the prosecution must also have been exhausted or the time to file an appeal has expired for the criminal history records to be administratively sealed.

Attorney on the Administratively Seal Process in Tampa, FL

Unfortunately, an administrative seal is a limited process that provides more benefit to a law enforcement agency that wants to cover up a mistake than it does to the defendant who now has a criminal record history.

The administrative sealing of a criminal record under this new legislation will do little to help you in a background check if the clerk’s office has a record of the case.

Even if your record is eligible to be sealed administratively, you might still need to petition the court for the relief provided by a court-ordered seal or expunge.

Read more about how our attorneys can help you seal or expunge a criminal record in Tampa, FL.

Call an attorney experienced with the process to seal or expunge a criminal record in Florida. We charge a flat fee of $950 to seal or expunge a record.

Contact us to start the process today. Call 813-250-0500.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

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