Auto-Seal under Section 943.0595
With the passage of Florida Statute Section 943.0595, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will allow for an automatic sealing of a court record (as long as the charge is not a forcible felony listed in Section 776.08 or 943.0435(1)(h)1.a.(l)) if:
- No charging document was filed;
- A charging document was filed, but then the State Attorney’s Office enters a “nol pross” to drop the charges;
- A charging document was filed but the court then dismisses the charge (unless the dismissal was related to the completion of a diversion program);
- A “not guilty” verdict was returned at trial; or
- The court entered a judgement of acquittal (JOA).
Section 943.0595 doesn’t require a person to take any affirmative action or do anything to get the record sealed. Instead, the clerk is supposed to forward certified final dispositions of all eligible records to the FDLE to be processed for a seal under this statute.
Attorneys to Seal / Expunge a Criminal Record in Tampa, FL
If the clerk’s office automatically sealed your record because the charges were never filed, dropped, or otherwise dismissed, then you might still need to expunge the record to get rid of the entire criminal history including the mug shot and information on the sheriff’s office website.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm help clients expunge or seal a record throughout Florida. We charge a flat fee which includes any required court appearance.
Problems with the Auto-Seal of a Criminal Record in Florida
The auto-seal provision of Florida Statute Section 943.0595 does NOT require the arresting agency or the clerk of court to seal/expunge the arrest record. The seal or expunction of the arrest record only occurs through the traditional application route under 943.059 and 943.0585.
For this reason, a person still needs to pursue the traditional judicial seal or expunction under Florida Statute Section 943.059 and 943.0585, if they want to make sure that the arrest record does not show up on a background check.
In fact, Section 943.0595(3)(b), expressly provides that the automatic sealing “does not require sealing by the court or other criminal justice agencies, or that such record be surrendered to the court, and such record shall continue to be maintained by the department and other criminal justice agencies.”
Although under subjection (c), the statute provides that the automatic sealing “shall have the same effect . . . as a record sealed under s. 943.059.”
This article was last updated on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.