Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records

A Step by Step Guide to the Process

Introduction

The content of this page is intended as a general guide to the process of having a criminal record sealed or expunged. Nothing contained herein is intended to be legal advice. While many people are successful in completing this process without assistance, an individual seeking to have his or her record sealed or expunged should consider consulting an attorney to assist in the process. Our legal system is an adversarial process. You may need to seek assistance of counsel to help you in the process. Unfortunately, the State Attorney is not allowed to assist you during the seal and expunge process, except in the manner that is outlined here. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains a website intended to assist in the process and provide information regarding the process. If you have questions about the seal and expunge process, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has many valuable resources about this process to help you. Information can be found at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Sealing and Expunge website or by calling 850.410.7870. It includes instruction for applying for a Certificate of Eligibility. That website can be found here.

The Process

Step 1: Getting the Application

Acquire the “Florida Department of Law Enforcement Application for Certification of Eligibility” (Hereinafter referred to as “application”). This application is found on the FDLE website mentioned above. A link directly to the application can be found here.

Step 2: Completing your portion of the Application

Complete “Section A” of the application. The application must be signed under oath in the presence of a notary. Any of the 5 offices of the State Attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit will provide notary service to you without charge for this purpose in our office.

Step 3: Delivering the Application to the Office of the State Attorney

Deliver the application to the Office of the State Attorney in the county in which you were charged in. You may deliver it by mail or by bringing it to the office. Electronic copies will not be accepted.

Step 4: Return of the Application from the State Attorney to You

We will complete “Section B” of the application. Depending on workload issues, this could take a few weeks. We will return the application to you by U.S. Mail to the mailing address you listed in Section A of the application.

Step 5: Submitting the application to FDLE

You must send the following items to FDLE at the address below:

  1. Certified Copy of the disposition of the matter you are seeking to have sealed / Expunged.This form is available at the Clerk of Court.
  2. Your fingerprints. (Your local Sheriff’s Office or FDLE can provide this service.)
  3. The application.
  4. $75.00 money order or cashier’s check payable to FDLE.

Address:

Florida Department of Law Enforcement 
Attn: Expunge/Seal Section 
P.O. Box 1489 
Tallahassee, Fl. 32302-1489

Step 6: Completing a “Petition and Affidavit to Expunge or Seal”

A successful application results in the FDLE sending you a “Certificate of Eligibility”. Once you have received your “Certificate of Eligibility”, you must complete a “Petition and Affidavit to Expunge or Seal” (hereinafter referred to as “Petition”). There are several ways that you can obtain a blank form Petition:

  1. Go to the Leon County Clerk of the Court’s website. The website contains a Petition that is approved for use in Leon County; however, this Petition can be modified to be used in any county. The Petitions can be found here.

Felony Expunge

Felony Seal

Misdemeanor & Traffic Expunge

Misdemeanor & Traffic Seal

Step 7: Filing the Petition

After completing the Petition, you must file the original “Petition and Affidavit to Expunge or Seal” and the Certificate of Eligibility with the Clerk of the Court in the County where the matter occurred. Copiesof these documents must be sent to:

  1. The State Attorney’s Office in the County where the matter occurred.

Step 8: The Court Process

Once the Office of the State Attorney receives our copy of the documents referenced in Step 7, above, we will file a response to your petition. We may agree or disagree, but typically if you have received a Certificate from FDLE we will approve the request. If we disagree, the Court may have a hearing on the matter. The Clerk of the Court will notify you of the date and time if there is going to be a hearing. If we agree, the Clerk will forward all of the documents to the Court, and generally, the Court will issue an Order Sealing or Expunging the Record within a few weeks and will mail you a copy of this signed Order from the Court.


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