If you get investigated for a crime, you may want to eliminate any public record of the matter.
Under Florida law, you can apply to the court to destroy your criminal file or seal the record.
Destruction of criminal history
Florida law permits the court to order the complete expunction (expungement) of your criminal history file if you meet specific qualifications. To secure an expungement in Florida, the following basic requirements must be met:
- Completing a written application with the exact court where the conviction took place
- Having the original sentence be completed or fulfilled
- A complete absence of any additional or new charges on the record of the person seeking an expungement
Barring public access
You can also petition the court to seal your criminal history file. A sealing prevents members of the public from accessing the record. Like an expungement, you cannot have a guilty finding for any of the current charges or on any similar matter. You also cannot have another sealing or expungement petition granted in the past or pending.
Under Florida law, certain crimes do not qualify for sealing or expungement. These offenses include a variety of violent crimes, such as sexual battery or assault.
Suppose you must protect your reputation for your job or community. In that case, you may consider applying for an expungement or sealing so others cannot access the existing criminal record. For more on these matters, please see our overview of expungement in Florida. Our firm helps clients throughout Florida get their criminal records expunged.