Expungement or Sealing of Records

Generally, only ONE sealing or expungement may be obtained in your lifetime, so use it wisely.

With the increasing incidence of criminal background checks, we are receiving many calls concerning record expungements and record sealing in Tampa, and across the Bay Area. Most clients are reporting difficulties in obtaining employment, bank loans, and even apartment leases because they have a prior indiscretion in their history.

What is the benefit of having my record expunged or sealed?

The question “Have you ever been arrested…?” frequently appears on employment applications, and increasingly on loan and lease applications. Once your record has been expunged, you can LEGALLY DENY or fail to acknowledge the arrest covered by the sealed or expunged record.

What is the difference between an expungement and a sealing?

A sealed record remains intact, but is blocked from public access by Court Order. There are still some who can access the information contained in a sealed record, as listed below. An expunged record is physically destroyed, and no trace of the expunged record is left on file. However, certain agencies will still be informed that there WAS a criminal or juvenile record at one time, but it has now been expunged.

A common misunderstanding about your arrest record

Some people are under the impression that if they have been arrested and charges are later dropped or never filed, that somehow their record will be “wiped clean.” Unfortunately, this is not the case, as there is still a record of the initial arrest. The record of the arrest itself, even if nothing ever came of it, must be expunged, or it will continue to show on a background check.

Who qualifies for an expungement?

A person who has NOT been adjudicated guilty (convicted) of any criminal offense anywhere in the world or adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile, and who has not previously sealed or expunged** a record may qualify, but there are exceptions.

What charges may NOT be expunged?

Charges that may NOT be expunged (even if you received a Withhold of Adjudication) include:

  • Abuse of an elderly person
  • Domestic violence
  • Aggravated assault or aggravated battery; carjacking
  • Drug trafficking
  • Child abuse
  • Offenses by public officers and employees
  • Sex crimes against children, including computer pornography involving a child

This is only a partial list, so please call at 813-254-0254 with any questions about your individual circumstances.

After the expungement or sealing, certain people may still access your information

There are several agencies that will continue to have access to your sealed record, or if expunged, will be notified that there had been an expungement of a criminal record, although the details will be unavailable. These agencies include:

  • Any criminal justice agency, if you are a candidate for employment
  • If you are a defendant in a subsequent criminal prosecution
  • The Florida Bar, if you are a candidate for admission
  • The Department of Education, again, if you are seeking employment
  • If you are attempting to purchase a firearm and are subject to a background check

The Expungement Process

1. We determine if you are eligible to seal or expunge a criminal history record. In order to do that, we must obtain a complete listing of your prior arrests and / or charges occurring anywhere in the world, both adult and juvenile cases.

2. We confirm that none of your prior arrests led to an adjudication of guilt (i.e. conviction) or an adjudication of delinquency as a juvenile (i.e. found delinquent by the Court).

3. We confirm that the prior arrest is not one of the enumerated crimes in Florida, listed as dangerous crimes, that are ineligible to be sealed.

NOTE: We will usually do these first three steps as part of our free 15 minute consultation.


Steps 4 – 10: We’ll take care of the rest.

Once hired, there is only one more piece of documentation that we need from you: and that is to have your fingerprints rolled at an authorized law enforcement agency. The good news is that many law enforcement agencies have reciprocal agreements; that is to say, you can have an agency near you take your fingerprints (even if you are in another state), then just mail the fingerprint card to our office.

**FDLE has changed its requirements as of July 1, 2013 to include 1 prior record sealing or expungment in another state may still enable a Florida record to be sealed or expunged.  Call us today to see if your situation applies.

Do not get lost in the details of the expungement process!

Our office has performed hundreds of record sealings and expungements, and has the knowledge and experience to get your record expunged in the quickest and most efficient manner. We will keep you informed every step of the way and ensure that all required documentation is ordered, applications generated, and paperwork filed with the appropriate agencies.

If you are looking to clear your record, don’t risk a delay or rejection by trying to do it yourself. Our office is here to quickly navigate the sealing or expungement process for you, and free up your time for other things. Call now at (813) 254-0254, as the process can take several months. Call today and we’ll start today.

Other Criminal Charges

To learn more about drug charges, including charges for possession of drugs,click here. To learn more about DUI/DWI charges, click here. If you think you may be facing additional criminal charges in Florida, click here. Or view our list of other practice areas below:

Ratings and Reviews

Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated

FL Bar Board Certified

Former Prosecutor