Are Criminal Records Ever Automatically Expunged in Florida?

By Jonathan Blecher on January 31, 2014

For adults, Florida does not have an automatic expungement law for criminal records, and no adult criminal history is really even gone once it’s created. Records like booking photos and fingerprints are retained by law enforcement for use in criminal investigations. Additionally, private data-mining companies gather criminal history information for use in background checks, while other companies collect mug shots and sell their removal from their sites.

Under Florida law, a record is eligible for “expungement” if the charges have been not officially filed by the state, dropped after being filed, or dismissed by a court. Additionally, the applicant cannot have had a prior conviction for any crime in any state to be successful in a petition to expunge. Under Florida law, a record is eligible for “sealing” if the charges once filed, have been resolved by a plea of guilty or no contest AND the court has “withheld adjudication of guilt”. meaning no criminal conviction.

For juvenile offenses, Florida has automatic expunction (F.S. 943.0515) of a juvenile record, at age 24 or 26, depending on prior history and arrest or conviction as an adult; expunction by petition of some misdemeanors after successful completion of a court diversion program under s. 943.0582; and, expunction of an arrest record under s. 943.0581, for persons who have been arrested “contrary to law or by mistake.”

Contact my office if you have further questions about your conviction and if it can be expunged.

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