Sealing a Criminal Record
A court may order a criminal history record of a minor or an adult to be sealed. To qualify for a court-ordered sealing, a person must obtain a certificate of eligibility from the FDLE under the requirements outlined in Section 943.059(2), F.S.
Under Florida law, there is no statutory right to a court-ordered sealing. Instead, any request for sealing a criminal history record may be denied at the court’s sole discretion. Although, the courts will routinely grant these motions and order the record to be sealed.
If the court grants a petition to seal, the court clerk sends certified copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or prosecutor and the arresting agency.
The arresting agency must provide the sealing order to any agencies that received the criminal history record information from the arresting agency. The FDLE must provide the expunction order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An order sealing a criminal history record does not require that record to be surrendered to the court because the FDLE and other criminal justice agencies shall continue to maintain the record.
Attorneys to Seal a Criminal Record in Tampa, FL
If you are eligible to seal or expunge a criminal record, contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.
We have filed hundreds of petitions to seal a criminal history record throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.
When required by the court, we also appear in front of the judge for any hearing on the petition.
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm charge a flat $1,200 fee to seal a criminal history record.
Contact us to learn more about how to start the process today.
Requirements to Obtain a Court-Ordered Sealing of a Criminal Record
The requirements to seal a criminal record include obtaining a certificate of eligibility for sealing from FDLE.
To be eligible to obtain the certificate of eligibility to seal the record, the applicant must not:
- Be under court supervision for the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains;
- Have been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains;
- Have secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record;
- Before the date on which the application is filed:
- have been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or
- been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b), F.S.
Items Need to Obtain the “Certificate of Eligibility” to Seal a Record
To seal a criminal history record, the applicant must also submit to the FDLE:
- A $75 processing fee, unless the fee is waived by the executive director; and
- A certified copy of the disposition of the charge.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm for sealing a criminal record can help you complete all the paperwork and submit all the items required to obtain the “certificate of eligibility.”
Petitioning the Court to Seal a Criminal Record in Florida
After receiving the certificate of eligibility for sealing, we prepare all the paperwork to petition the court to seal the criminal history record.
Along with the certificate of eligibility, the petitioner must include a sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:
- Is eligible for such sealing and does not have any other petition to seal or expunge pending before any court;
- Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record;
- Has not been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains;
- Has never, before the date on which the petition is filed:
- been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or
- been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a specified misdemeanor.
A copy of the completed petition to seal is then served upon the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency. Any of those entities may object to the petition to seal or request a hearing.
Effect of Sealing of Criminal History Records in Florida
The person who has their criminal history record sealed may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the records that were sealed unless they are:
- A defendant in a criminal prosecution;
- A candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
- Petitioning to have a court-ordered criminal history record expunged or sealed or petitioning for relief under s. 943.0583, F.S.;
- Attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed imported, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law; or
- Seeking appointment as a guardian, a position with a criminal justice agency, a license by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services, or a position with an agency that is responsible for the protection of vulnerable persons, including children, the disabled, or the elderly;
- Seeking to be licensed by the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.
Contact our attorneys to seal a criminal record in Florida.
Visit our offices in Hillsborough County, Clearwater in Pinellas County, and New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.
Or call 813-250-0500 to get started today.
This article was last updated on Monday, April 24, 2023.