Frequently Asked Questions
IN PERSON: Most of our clients choose to deal with us over email, U.S. Mail, and the internet. We've set up our website questionnaire to ensure we obtain all the information we need to work your case. However, if you wish to come in person, please call us for an appointment to come in and give us your information, sign two documents (we'll notarize them for you), and provide your payment. We'll give you a fingerprint card to take with you. Get yourself fingerprinted, send it back to us and we'll take it from there.
BY INTERNET AND MAIL: If you want to do this completely by mail you have that choice also. Complete the secure online sealing and expunge application (Questionnaire page). Once we have your information, we'll send you a fingerprint card and 2 pre-prepared documents for you to sign and have notarized. Send those back to us and we'll take care of the rest! If you don't wish to pay by credit/debit card online, print out your completed questionnaire and mail it to us with your check or money order. Do not send cash in the mail. Have a question? Not sure if you qualify? Call us for a free consultation or email us with your question or click here to fill out our online FREE sealing and expunge consultation form. We'll get back to you as soon as possible!
Not much. We have refined this process to make this experience as easy as possible for our clients. There will be no office visits required. We routinely handle cases for clients all over the state, out of state, and even clients living overseas who were arrested in Florida. We handle your case via email, regular mail, and phone. Our office will prepare the required documents, monitor your FDLE application, deal with the appropriate agencies and the court, make any legal arguments on your behalf, and attend the final hearing on your motion if required by the court
All you need to do is:
- take the fingerprint card we send you and get fingerprinted at any local police station (this costs $5-$15) and;
- have two (2) documents we send you notarized. Send the fingerprint card and the two documents back to us and we'll take care of the rest.
In most cases - NO. Your appearance in court is rarely necessary so you won't have to take any time from your busy schedule to attend court. One of our attorneys will appear in court on your behalf. Only in extremely rare cases will a judge request for you to appear.
You can only have your record immediately expunged if you were: arrested but never charged by the State Attorney (referred to as a "no action" or "no file"), the State Attorney later nolle prossed (dismissed) the case, or the Court dismissed the case. You can apply to have your record expunged after is has been sealed for 10 years.
Sealing your record means that your record (police, state attorney, other agencies, and court records) are physically sealed and put away in a vault so that no one without court order may have access to them. Your information regarding the charge is removed from the Criminal Information Justice System (CJIS) and the record won't show up in any background check relating to you. After 10 years of having your record sealed, you may ask the Court to expunge (destroy) the record. If you took a plea and received a withhold of adjudication you can only seal your record assuming you qualify.
Expunging a record means that the record which is expunged is physically destroyed. Only one copy of your record is retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and that copy is not viewable by anyone without Court order. No agency is allowed to say that you even had a record sealed or expunged or the person divulging the information may be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. Also, information regarding the charge expunged is removed from CJIS (Criminal Justice Information System) so that it doesn't come up on any background checks.
You do not have to use your one time statutory privilege to seal or expunge a mistaken arrest. A mistaken arrest can be sealed administratively and you can save your one time seal or expunge privilege should you ever need it in the future.
We have had many clients that were arrested in Florida while on vacation from another state or even another country that later wanted to have their case sealed for various reasons. That is not a problem. In 99.9% of cases, the judge will not make you appear in person at the final seal/expunge hearing. We will take care of that for you. So, if you are not in Florida and you want us to seal your record we can certainly help you if you qualify.
There is red tape to cut and several hoops to jump through (don't worry, we'll do the jumping and cutting). Your application to expunge your record must be first approved by the Office of The State Attorney and then by the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement (FDLE) before your motion to expunge can be set for hearing before the court. The State Attorney may take 4-6 weeks to approve your application. This is an extra step in expungement cases. After that, the FDLE may take 4-5 months to process your application and issue the required documentation we need to file with the court. Once we receive approval from the FDLE it may take another 2-4 weeks before your case is heard by the Court. Once the order to expunge is signed by the Court, the order to expunge is then sent to the arresting agency, any other police agency involved in your arrest, any other agencies having information regarding your case, and to the clerk of the court for them to expunge their records. To be safe, give yourself 6-8 months so that your information is expunged and unavailable to the general public. This is an average time. We can’t guarantee the time it takes as some of the process is out of our control and is dependent on the efficiency of the agency we are dealing with as well as processing times at the FDLE.
If you have multiple charges on different arrests, but the charges stem from the same incident, that may also be expunged as long as the court approves.
Yes, both misdemeanors and felonies can be expunged. Juvenile records can also be expunged.
Assuming you qualify, you can only expunge charges from one incident or MULTIPLE charges if all the charges stem from ONE incident.
Example 1: on June 1, 2000 you were arrested for theft and possession of marijuana at the same time, assuming you qualify, you can expunge them both, because they stem from the same incident.
Example 2: However, if you were arrested for possession of marijuana and theft on June 1, 2000 and then were arrested on June 15, 2000 for petit theft in an unrelated incident, these charges stem from two separate incidences and assuming you qualify you can only seal one, either the possession of marijuana or the theft.
Unlike record sealing where certain charges may not be sealed, ANY charge may be expunged if the charge was dismissed by the court or state attorney, not filed by the state attorney, or you were found not guilty by a judge or jury!
Expunction means that your arrest and court records are physically destroyed and thus unavailable to the general public. In addition, information regarding the arrest and court case is removed from the publicly available database known as the CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION SYSTEM (CJIS) and therefore not available to the general public if a criminal background check is conducted.
There are several hoops to jump through and red tape to cut through (don't worry, we'll do the jumping and the cutting for you). On average it takes 5 to 7 months on average to complete a record sealing depending on the backlog of the various agencies that must be dealt with.
Yes, you can seal multiple charges if they stem from the same incident. If you have multiple charges that you were arrested for on different days, but the charges stem from the same incident, that may also be sealed. If you have any questions about sealing multiple charges give us a call, or email us your question, we will gladly answer all your questions for free.
Yes, both misdemeanors and felonies are sealable. Juvenile records are also sealable.
Wouldn't that be great!? Sorry, you can only seal A charge from one incident or MULTIPLE charges if all the charges stem from THE SAME incident.
Example 1: on June 1, 2000 you were arrested for theft and possession of marijuana at the same time, assuming you qualify, you can seal them both, because they stem from the same incident.
Example 2: Let's say you were arrested for possession of marijuana on June 1, 2000 and police came back later on June 15, 2000 and arrested you for petit theft for something unrelated. These two arrests are considered two separate incidences, assuming you qualify, you can only seal one, either the possession of marijuana or the theft.
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