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Sealing or Expunction of a Criminal Record

There is a widely held belief that if a person is arrested and the charges are later dropped, reduced, adjudication withheld, or a person successfully completes a diversion program that charge will not show up on a person's criminal record. This is simply wrong. Criminal arrests in Florida and Georgia remain on a person's record until the person arrested does something to correct the situation. This means future employers, schools, or anyone who has access to check your criminal background will be able to see your arrest even if the arrest was completed baseless.

Another misnomer among persons is that a juvenile arrest or conviction automatically comes off your record when you 18. This is no longer true. There is now a special provision of Florida law which allows for a juvenile to get their record expunged so long as they have applied within 6 months of eligibility. Otherwise, their record will remain, generally until the child turns 24 years old.

Arnold Law Firm's experienced Jacksonville record expunction lawyers can guide you through the sealing or expunction process in Florida and Georgia. With some notable exceptions listed below, those who have been arrested and had the charges dropped can have their record expunged. Those who have been arrested for either a misdemeanor or felony but were not adjudicated guilty of the offense may have their record sealed.

In Florida, certain crimes have make a person illegible for sealing or expunction if they were arrested, adjudication was withheld, or there was an attempt or conspiracy to commit. Below is a list of some crimes but consult with our attorneys for details because relief may still be available to you.

Aggravated assault 784.021 Aggravated battery 784.045

Arson 806.01 Child Abuse 827.03

Burglary of a Dwelling 810.02 Kidnapping 827.03

Sexual misconduct 393.135 394.4593 Sexual Battery Chapter 794

Luring or enticing a child 787.025 Voyeurism 810.14,

Prostitution with child 796.03 Fraud 817.034

Lewd or lascivious acts 800.04/825.1025 Drug Trafficking 893.135

Sexual performance by a child 827.071 Computer Pornography 847.0135

Obscenity involving a child 847.0133 Public Misconduct Chapter 839

Robbery/Home Invasion Robbery 812.13/ 812.135 Terrorism 775.30

Sale of Custody of Minors 847.0145 Drug Manufacture Chapter 893

Sexual Misconduct involving Disabled Person 916.1075

CONTACT THE ATTORNEYS AT Arnold Law Firm REGARDING YOUR ELIGIBILITY!

If you are seeking to have your record sealed or expunged contact our experienced sealing, expunction, and criminal defense attorneys. There are many nuances to sealing and expunction laws in Florida and Georgia.

Listed below are Florida's Sealing and Expunction laws.

943.0582 Prearrest, postarrest, or teen court diversion program expunction.--

(1) Notwithstanding any law dealing generally with the preservation and destruction of public records, the department may provide, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, for the expunction of any nonjudicial record of the arrest of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program for minors as authorized by s. 985.125.

(2)(a) As used in this section, the term "expunction" has the same meaning ascribed in and effect as s. 943.0585, except that:

1. The provisions of s. 943.0585(4)(a) do not apply, except that the criminal history record of a person whose record is expunged pursuant to this section shall be made available only to criminal justice agencies for the purpose of determining eligibility for prearrest, postarrest, or teen court diversion programs; when the record is sought as part of a criminal investigation; or when the subject of the record is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency. For all other purposes, a person whose record is expunged under this section may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest and the charge covered by the expunged record.

2. Records maintained by local criminal justice agencies in the county in which the arrest occurred that are eligible for expunction pursuant to this section shall be sealed as the term is used in s. 943.059.

(b) As used in this section, the term "nonviolent misdemeanor" includes simple assault or battery when prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction is approved in writing by the state attorney for the county in which the arrest occurred.

(3) The department shall expunge the nonjudicial arrest record of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program if that minor:

(a) Submits an application for prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction, on a form 1prescribed by the department, signed by the minor's parent or legal guardian, or by the minor if he or she has reached the age of majority at the time of applying.

(b) Submits the application for prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction no later than 6 months after completion of the diversion program.

(c) Submits to the department, with the application, an official written statement from the state attorney for the county in which the arrest occurred certifying that he or she has successfully completed that county's prearrest or postarrest diversion program and that participation in the program is strictly limited to minors arrested for a nonviolent misdemeanor who have not otherwise been charged with or found to have committed any criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation.

(d) Participated in a prearrest or postarrest diversion program that expressly authorizes or permits such expunction to occur.

(e) Participated in a prearrest or postarrest diversion program based on an arrest for a nonviolent misdemeanor that would not qualify as an act of domestic violence as that term is defined in s. 741.28.

(f) Has never, prior to filing the application for expunction, been charged with or been found to have committed any criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation.

(4) The department is authorized to charge a $75 processing fee for each request received for prearrest or postarrest diversion program expunction, for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, unless such fee is waived by the executive director.

(5) This section operates retroactively to permit the expunction of any nonjudicial record of the arrest of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program on or after July 1, 2000; however, in the case of a minor whose completion of the program occurred before the effective date of this 2section, the application for prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction must be submitted within 6 months after the effective date of this 2section.

(6) Expunction or sealing granted under this section does not prevent the minor who receives such relief from petitioning for the expunction or sealing of a later criminal history record as provided for in ss. 943.0585 and 943.059, if the minor is otherwise eligible under those sections.

History.--s. 8, ch. 2001-125; s. 10, ch. 2001-127; s. 66, ch. 2004-267; s. 117, ch. 2006-120.

1Note.--As enacted by s. 8, ch. 2001-125. Section 10, ch. 2001-127, also enacted s. 943.0582, and that version used the word "promulgated" instead of the word "prescribed."

2Note.--As enacted by s. 8, ch. 2001-125. Section 10, ch. 2001-127, also enacted s. 943.0582, and that version used the word "act" instead of the word "section."

943.0585 Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records.

The courts of this state have jurisdiction over their own procedures, including the maintenance, expunction, and correction of judicial records containing criminal history information to the extent such procedures are not inconsistent with the conditions, responsibilities, and duties established by this section. Any court of competent jurisdiction may order a criminal justice agency to expunge the criminal history record of a minor or an adult who complies with the requirements of this section. The court shall not order a criminal justice agency to expunge a criminal history record until the person seeking to expunge a criminal history record has applied for and received a certificate of eligibility for expunction pursuant to subsection (2). A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be expunged, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, the offense as a delinquent act. The court may only order expunction of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity, except as provided in this section. The court may, at its sole discretion, order the expunction of a criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. If the court intends to order the expunction of records pertaining to such additional arrests, such intent must be specified in the order. A criminal justice agency may not expunge any record pertaining to such additional arrests if the order to expunge does not articulate the intention of the court to expunge a record pertaining to more than one arrest. This section does not prevent the court from ordering the expunction of only a portion of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a criminal justice agency may comply with laws, court orders, and official requests of other jurisdictions relating to expunction, correction, or confidential handling of criminal history records or information derived therefrom. This section does not confer any right to the expunction of any criminal history record, and any request for expunction of a criminal history record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court.

(1) PETITION TO EXPUNGE A CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD.--Each petition to a court to expunge a criminal history record is complete only when accompanied by:

(a) A valid certificate of eligibility for expunction issued by the department pursuant to subsection (2).

(b) The petitioner's sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:

1. Has never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

2. Has not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition pertains.

3. Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, or from any jurisdiction outside the state, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (2)(h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.

4. Is eligible for such an expunction to the best of his or her knowledge or belief and does not have any other petition to expunge or any petition to seal pending before any court.

Any person who knowingly provides false information on such sworn statement to the court commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR EXPUNCTION.--Prior to petitioning the court to expunge a criminal history record, a person seeking to expunge a criminal history record shall apply to the department for a certificate of eligibility for expunction. The department shall, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, establish procedures pertaining to the application for and issuance of certificates of eligibility for expunction. A certificate of eligibility for expunction is valid for 12 months after the date stamped on the certificate when issued by the department. After that time, the petitioner must reapply to the department for a new certificate of eligibility. Eligibility for a renewed certification of eligibility must be based on the status of the applicant and the law in effect at the time of the renewal application. The department shall issue a certificate of eligibility for expunction to a person who is the subject of a criminal history record if that person:

(a) Has obtained, and submitted to the department, a written, certified statement from the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor which indicates:

1. That an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case.

2. That an indictment, information, or other charging document, if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that none of the charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains resulted in a trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt.

3. That the criminal history record does not relate to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, where the defendant was found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any such offense, or that the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, such an offense as a delinquent act, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld.

(b) Remits a $75 processing fee to the department for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, unless such fee is waived by the executive director.

(c) Has submitted to the department a certified copy of the disposition of the charge to which the petition to expunge pertains.

(d) Has never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

(e) Has not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.

(f) Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.

(g) Is no longer under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.

(h) Has previously obtained a court order sealing the record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 for a minimum of 10 years because adjudication was withheld or because all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were not dismissed prior to trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt. The requirement for the record to have previously been sealed for a minimum of 10 years does not apply when a plea was not entered or all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were dismissed prior to trial.

(3) PROCESSING OF A PETITION OR ORDER TO EXPUNGE.--

(a) In judicial proceedings under this section, a copy of the completed petition to expunge shall be served upon the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and upon the arresting agency; however, it is not necessary to make any agency other than the state a party. The appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency may respond to the court regarding the completed petition to expunge.

(b) If relief is granted by the court, the clerk of the court shall certify copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency. The arresting agency is responsible for forwarding the order to any other agency to which the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history record information to which the order pertains. The department shall forward the order to expunge to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The clerk of the court shall certify a copy of the order to any other agency which the records of the court reflect has received the criminal history record from the court.

(c) For an order to expunge entered by a court prior to July 1, 1992, the department shall notify the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor of an order to expunge which is contrary to law because the person who is the subject of the record has previously been convicted of a crime or comparable ordinance violation or has had a prior criminal history record sealed or expunged. Upon receipt of such notice, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action, within 60 days, to correct the record and petition the court to void the order to expunge. The department shall seal the record until such time as the order is voided by the court.

(d) On or after July 1, 1992, the department or any other criminal justice agency is not required to act on an order to expunge entered by a court when such order does not comply with the requirements of this section. Upon receipt of such an order, the department must notify the issuing court, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor, the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney, and the arresting agency of the reason for noncompliance. The appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action within 60 days to correct the record and petition the court to void the order. No cause of action, including contempt of court, shall arise against any criminal justice agency for failure to comply with an order to expunge when the petitioner for such order failed to obtain the certificate of eligibility as required by this section or such order does not otherwise comply with the requirements of this section.

(4) EFFECT OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD EXPUNCTION.--Any criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered expunged by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this section must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record; except that any criminal history record in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases. A criminal history record ordered expunged that is retained by the department is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and not available to any person or entity except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge.

(a) The person who is the subject of a criminal history record that is expunged under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:

1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;

2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;

3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section or s. 943.059;

4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;

5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly as provided in s. 110.1127(3), s. 393.063, s. 394.4572(1), s. 397.451, s. 402.302(3), s. 402.313(3), s. 409.175(2)(i), s. 415.102(4), chapter 916, s. 985.644, chapter 400, or chapter 429;

6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities; or

7. Is seeking authorization from a seaport listed in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12.

(b) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (a), a person who has been granted an expunction under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person's failure to recite or acknowledge an expunged criminal history record.

(c) Information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record which is provided in accordance with paragraph (a) is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the department shall disclose the existence of a criminal history record ordered expunged to the entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 7. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes, and to criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes. It is unlawful for any employee of an entity set forth in subparagraph (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., subparagraph (a)5., subparagraph (a)6., or subparagraph (a)7. to disclose information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record of a person seeking employment, access authorization, or licensure with such entity or contractor, except to the person to whom the criminal history record relates or to persons having direct responsibility for employment, access authorization, or licensure decisions. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(5) STATUTORY REFERENCES.--Any reference to any other chapter, section, or subdivision of the Florida Statutes in this section constitutes a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by reference.

History.--s. 3, ch. 92-73; s. 43, ch. 93-39; s. 1, ch. 94-127; s. 19, ch. 94-154; s. 95, ch. 94-209; s. 140, ch. 95-418; s. 3, ch. 95-427; s. 52, ch. 96-169; s. 7, ch. 96-402; s. 443, ch. 96-406; s. 1847, ch. 97-102; s. 57, ch. 98-280; s. 115, ch. 99-3; s. 10, ch. 99-188; s. 4, ch. 99-300; s. 16, ch. 99-304; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 27, ch. 2000-320; s. 115, ch. 2000-349; s. 4, ch. 2001-127; s. 1, ch. 2002-212; ss. 8, 97, ch. 2004-267; s. 1, ch. 2004-295; s. 22, ch. 2005-128; s. 118, ch. 2006-120; s. 10, ch. 2006-176; s. 27, ch. 2006-195; s. 109, ch. 2006-197; s. 5, ch. 2008-249; s. 8, ch. 2009-171.

943.059 Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records.

The courts of this state shall continue to have jurisdiction over their own procedures, including the maintenance, sealing, and correction of judicial records containing criminal history information to the extent such procedures are not inconsistent with the conditions, responsibilities, and duties established by this section. Any court of competent jurisdiction may order a criminal justice agency to seal the criminal history record of a minor or an adult who complies with the requirements of this section. The court shall not order a criminal justice agency to seal a criminal history record until the person seeking to seal a criminal history record has applied for and received a certificate of eligibility for sealing pursuant to subsection (2). A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be sealed, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing the offense as a delinquent act. The court may only order sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity, except as provided in this section. The court may, at its sole discretion, order the sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. If the court intends to order the sealing of records pertaining to such additional arrests, such intent must be specified in the order. A criminal justice agency may not seal any record pertaining to such additional arrests if the order to seal does not articulate the intention of the court to seal records pertaining to more than one arrest. This section does not prevent the court from ordering the sealing of only a portion of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a criminal justice agency may comply with laws, court orders, and official requests of other jurisdictions relating to sealing, correction, or confidential handling of criminal history records or information derived therefrom. This section does not confer any right to the sealing of any criminal history record, and any request for sealing a criminal history record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court.

(1) PETITION TO SEAL A CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD.--Each petition to a court to seal a criminal history record is complete only when accompanied by:

(a) A valid certificate of eligibility for sealing issued by the department pursuant to subsection (2).

(b) The petitioner's sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:

1. Has never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

2. Has not been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.

3. Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, former s. 943.058, or from any jurisdiction outside the state.

4. Is eligible for such a sealing to the best of his or her knowledge or belief and does not have any other petition to seal or any petition to expunge pending before any court.

Any person who knowingly provides false information on such sworn statement to the court commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR SEALING.--Prior to petitioning the court to seal a criminal history record, a person seeking to seal a criminal history record shall apply to the department for a certificate of eligibility for sealing. The department shall, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, establish procedures pertaining to the application for and issuance of certificates of eligibility for sealing. A certificate of eligibility for sealing is valid for 12 months after the date stamped on the certificate when issued by the department. After that time, the petitioner must reapply to the department for a new certificate of eligibility. Eligibility for a renewed certification of eligibility must be based on the status of the applicant and the law in effect at the time of the renewal application. The department shall issue a certificate of eligibility for sealing to a person who is the subject of a criminal history record provided that such person:

(a) Has submitted to the department a certified copy of the disposition of the charge to which the petition to seal pertains.

(b) Remits a $75 processing fee to the department for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, unless such fee is waived by the executive director.

(c) Has never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

(d) Has not been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.

(e) Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058.

(f) Is no longer under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.

(3) PROCESSING OF A PETITION OR ORDER TO SEAL.--

(a) In judicial proceedings under this section, a copy of the completed petition to seal shall be served upon the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and upon the arresting agency; however, it is not necessary to make any agency other than the state a party. The appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency may respond to the court regarding the completed petition to seal.

(b) If relief is granted by the court, the clerk of the court shall certify copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and to the arresting agency. The arresting agency is responsible for forwarding the order to any other agency to which the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history record information to which the order pertains. The department shall forward the order to seal to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The clerk of the court shall certify a copy of the order to any other agency which the records of the court reflect has received the criminal history record from the court.

(c) For an order to seal entered by a court prior to July 1, 1992, the department shall notify the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor of any order to seal which is contrary to law because the person who is the subject of the record has previously been convicted of a crime or comparable ordinance violation or has had a prior criminal history record sealed or expunged. Upon receipt of such notice, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action, within 60 days, to correct the record and petition the court to void the order to seal. The department shall seal the record until such time as the order is voided by the court.

(d) On or after July 1, 1992, the department or any other criminal justice agency is not required to act on an order to seal entered by a court when such order does not comply with the requirements of this section. Upon receipt of such an order, the department must notify the issuing court, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor, the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney, and the arresting agency of the reason for noncompliance. The appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action within 60 days to correct the record and petition the court to void the order. No cause of action, including contempt of court, shall arise against any criminal justice agency for failure to comply with an order to seal when the petitioner for such order failed to obtain the certificate of eligibility as required by this section or when such order does not comply with the requirements of this section.

(e) An order sealing a criminal history record pursuant to this section does not require that such record be surrendered to the court, and such record shall continue to be maintained by the department and other criminal justice agencies.

(4) EFFECT OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD SEALING.--A criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered sealed by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this section is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and is available only to the person who is the subject of the record, to the subject's attorney, to criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes, which include conducting a criminal history background check for approval of firearms purchases or transfers as authorized by state or federal law, to judges in the state courts system for the purpose of assisting them in their case-related decisionmaking responsibilities, as set forth in s. 943.053(5), or to those entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes.

(a) The subject of a criminal history record sealed under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed record, except when the subject of the record:

1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;

2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;

3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section or s. 943.0585;

4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;

5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly as provided in s. 110.1127(3), s. 393.063, s. 394.4572(1), s. 397.451, s. 402.302(3), s. 402.313(3), s. 409.175(2)(i), s. 415.102(4), s. 415.103, chapter 916, s. 985.644, chapter 400, or chapter 429;

6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;

7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law; or

8. Is seeking authorization from a Florida seaport identified in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12.

(b) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (a), a person who has been granted a sealing under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person's failure to recite or acknowledge a sealed criminal history record.

(c) Information relating to the existence of a sealed criminal record provided in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the department shall disclose the sealed criminal history record to the entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes. It is unlawful for any employee of an entity set forth in subparagraph (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., subparagraph (a)5., subparagraph (a)6., or subparagraph (a)8. to disclose information relating to the existence of a sealed criminal history record of a person seeking employment, access authorization, or licensure with such entity or contractor, except to the person to whom the criminal history record relates or to persons having direct responsibility for employment, access authorization, or licensure decisions. Any person who violates the provisions of this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(5) STATUTORY REFERENCES.--Any reference to any other chapter, section, or subdivision of the Florida Statutes in this section constitutes a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by reference.

History.--s. 4, ch. 92-73; s. 44, ch. 93-39; s. 3, ch. 94-127; s. 20, ch. 94-154; s. 96, ch. 94-209; s. 4, ch. 95-427; s. 53, ch. 96-169; s. 8, ch. 96-402; s. 444, ch. 96-406; s. 1848, ch. 97-102; s. 58, ch. 98-280; s. 116, ch. 99-3; s. 10, ch. 99-188; s. 5, ch. 99-300; s. 17, ch. 99-304; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 28, ch. 2000-320; s. 5, ch. 2001-127; s. 1, ch. 2002-212; ss. 9, 98, ch. 2004-267; s. 2, ch. 2004-295; s. 23, ch. 2005-128; s. 119, ch. 2006-120; s. 11, ch. 2006-176; s. 28, ch. 2006-195; s. 110, ch. 2006-197; s. 6, ch. 2008-249; s. 9, ch. 2009-171.

There is a widely held belief that if a person is arrested and the charges are later dropped, reduced, adjudication withheld, or a person successfully completes a diversion program that charge will not show up on a person's criminal record. This is simply wrong. Criminal arrests in Florida and Georgia remain on a person's record until the person arrested does something to correct the situation. This means future employers, schools, or anyone who has access to check your criminal background will be able to see your arrest even if the arrest was completed baseless.

Another misnomer among persons is that a juvenile arrest or conviction automatically comes off your record when you 18. This is no longer true. There is now a special provision of Florida law which allows for a juvenile to get their record expunged so long as they have applied within 6 months of eligibility. Otherwise, their record will remain, generally until the child turns 24 years old.

Arnold Law Firm's experienced Jacksonville record expunction lawyers can guide you through the sealing or expunction process in Florida and Georgia. With some notable exceptions listed below, those who have been arrested and had the charges dropped can have their record expunged. Those who have been arrested for either a misdemeanor or felony but were not adjudicated guilty of the offense may have their record sealed.

In Florida, certain crimes have make a person illegible for sealing or expunction if they were arrested, adjudication was withheld, or there was an attempt or conspiracy to commit. Below is a list of some crimes but consult with our attorneys for details because relief may still be available to you.

Aggravated assault 784.021 Aggravated battery 784.045

Arson 806.01 Child Abuse 827.03

Burglary of a Dwelling 810.02 Kidnapping 827.03

Sexual misconduct 393.135 394.4593 Sexual Battery Chapter 794

Luring or enticing a child 787.025 Voyeurism 810.14,

Prostitution with child 796.03 Fraud 817.034

Lewd or lascivious acts 800.04/825.1025 Drug Trafficking 893.135

Sexual performance by a child 827.071 Computer Pornography 847.0135

Obscenity involving a child 847.0133 Public Misconduct Chapter 839

Robbery/Home Invasion Robbery 812.13/ 812.135 Terrorism 775.30

Sale of Custody of Minors 847.0145 Drug Manufacture Chapter 893

Sexual Misconduct involving Disabled Person 916.1075

CONTACT THE ATTORNEYS AT Arnold Law Firm REGARDING YOUR ELIGIBILITY!

If you are seeking to have your record sealed or expunged contact our experienced sealing, expunction, and criminal defense attorneys. There are many nuances to sealing and expunction laws in Florida and Georgia.

Listed below are Florida's Sealing and Expunction laws.

943.0582 Prearrest, postarrest, or teen court diversion program expunction.--

(1) Notwithstanding any law dealing generally with the preservation and destruction of public records, the department may provide, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, for the expunction of any nonjudicial record of the arrest of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program for minors as authorized by s. 985.125.

(2)(a) As used in this section, the term "expunction" has the same meaning ascribed in and effect as s. 943.0585, except that:

1. The provisions of s. 943.0585(4)(a) do not apply, except that the criminal history record of a person whose record is expunged pursuant to this section shall be made available only to criminal justice agencies for the purpose of determining eligibility for prearrest, postarrest, or teen court diversion programs; when the record is sought as part of a criminal investigation; or when the subject of the record is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency. For all other purposes, a person whose record is expunged under this section may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest and the charge covered by the expunged record.

2. Records maintained by local criminal justice agencies in the county in which the arrest occurred that are eligible for expunction pursuant to this section shall be sealed as the term is used in s. 943.059.

(b) As used in this section, the term "nonviolent misdemeanor" includes simple assault or battery when prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction is approved in writing by the state attorney for the county in which the arrest occurred.

(3) The department shall expunge the nonjudicial arrest record of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program if that minor:

(a) Submits an application for prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction, on a form 1prescribed by the department, signed by the minor's parent or legal guardian, or by the minor if he or she has reached the age of majority at the time of applying.

(b) Submits the application for prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction no later than 6 months after completion of the diversion program.

(c) Submits to the department, with the application, an official written statement from the state attorney for the county in which the arrest occurred certifying that he or she has successfully completed that county's prearrest or postarrest diversion program and that participation in the program is strictly limited to minors arrested for a nonviolent misdemeanor who have not otherwise been charged with or found to have committed any criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation.

(d) Participated in a prearrest or postarrest diversion program that expressly authorizes or permits such expunction to occur.

(e) Participated in a prearrest or postarrest diversion program based on an arrest for a nonviolent misdemeanor that would not qualify as an act of domestic violence as that term is defined in s. 741.28.

(f) Has never, prior to filing the application for expunction, been charged with or been found to have committed any criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation.

(4) The department is authorized to charge a $75 processing fee for each request received for prearrest or postarrest diversion program expunction, for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, unless such fee is waived by the executive director.

(5) This section operates retroactively to permit the expunction of any nonjudicial record of the arrest of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program on or after July 1, 2000; however, in the case of a minor whose completion of the program occurred before the effective date of this 2section, the application for prearrest or postarrest diversion expunction must be submitted within 6 months after the effective date of this 2section.

(6) Expunction or sealing granted under this section does not prevent the minor who receives such relief from petitioning for the expunction or sealing of a later criminal history record as provided for in ss. 943.0585 and 943.059, if the minor is otherwise eligible under those sections.

History.--s. 8, ch. 2001-125; s. 10, ch. 2001-127; s. 66, ch. 2004-267; s. 117, ch. 2006-120.

1Note.--As enacted by s. 8, ch. 2001-125. Section 10, ch. 2001-127, also enacted s. 943.0582, and that version used the word "promulgated" instead of the word "prescribed."

2Note.--As enacted by s. 8, ch. 2001-125. Section 10, ch. 2001-127, also enacted s. 943.0582, and that version used the word "act" instead of the word "section."

943.0585 Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records.

The courts of this state have jurisdiction over their own procedures, including the maintenance, expunction, and correction of judicial records containing criminal history information to the extent such procedures are not inconsistent with the conditions, responsibilities, and duties established by this section. Any court of competent jurisdiction may order a criminal justice agency to expunge the criminal history record of a minor or an adult who complies with the requirements of this section. The court shall not order a criminal justice agency to expunge a criminal history record until the person seeking to expunge a criminal history record has applied for and received a certificate of eligibility for expunction pursuant to subsection (2). A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be expunged, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, the offense as a delinquent act. The court may only order expunction of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity, except as provided in this section. The court may, at its sole discretion, order the expunction of a criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. If the court intends to order the expunction of records pertaining to such additional arrests, such intent must be specified in the order. A criminal justice agency may not expunge any record pertaining to such additional arrests if the order to expunge does not articulate the intention of the court to expunge a record pertaining to more than one arrest. This section does not prevent the court from ordering the expunction of only a portion of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a criminal justice agency may comply with laws, court orders, and official requests of other jurisdictions relating to expunction, correction, or confidential handling of criminal history records or information derived therefrom. This section does not confer any right to the expunction of any criminal history record, and any request for expunction of a criminal history record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court.

(1) PETITION TO EXPUNGE A CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD.--Each petition to a court to expunge a criminal history record is complete only when accompanied by:

(a) A valid certificate of eligibility for expunction issued by the department pursuant to subsection (2).

(b) The petitioner's sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:

1. Has never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

2. Has not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition pertains.

3. Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, or from any jurisdiction outside the state, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (2)(h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.

4. Is eligible for such an expunction to the best of his or her knowledge or belief and does not have any other petition to expunge or any petition to seal pending before any court.

Any person who knowingly provides false information on such sworn statement to the court commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR EXPUNCTION.--Prior to petitioning the court to expunge a criminal history record, a person seeking to expunge a criminal history record shall apply to the department for a certificate of eligibility for expunction. The department shall, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, establish procedures pertaining to the application for and issuance of certificates of eligibility for expunction. A certificate of eligibility for expunction is valid for 12 months after the date stamped on the certificate when issued by the department. After that time, the petitioner must reapply to the department for a new certificate of eligibility. Eligibility for a renewed certification of eligibility must be based on the status of the applicant and the law in effect at the time of the renewal application. The department shall issue a certificate of eligibility for expunction to a person who is the subject of a criminal history record if that person:

(a) Has obtained, and submitted to the department, a written, certified statement from the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor which indicates:

1. That an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case.

2. That an indictment, information, or other charging document, if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that none of the charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains resulted in a trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt.

3. That the criminal history record does not relate to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, where the defendant was found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any such offense, or that the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, such an offense as a delinquent act, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld.

(b) Remits a $75 processing fee to the department for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, unless such fee is waived by the executive director.

(c) Has submitted to the department a certified copy of the disposition of the charge to which the petition to expunge pertains.

(d) Has never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

(e) Has not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.

(f) Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.

(g) Is no longer under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.

(h) Has previously obtained a court order sealing the record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 for a minimum of 10 years because adjudication was withheld or because all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were not dismissed prior to trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt. The requirement for the record to have previously been sealed for a minimum of 10 years does not apply when a plea was not entered or all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were dismissed prior to trial.

(3) PROCESSING OF A PETITION OR ORDER TO EXPUNGE.--

(a) In judicial proceedings under this section, a copy of the completed petition to expunge shall be served upon the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and upon the arresting agency; however, it is not necessary to make any agency other than the state a party. The appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency may respond to the court regarding the completed petition to expunge.

(b) If relief is granted by the court, the clerk of the court shall certify copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency. The arresting agency is responsible for forwarding the order to any other agency to which the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history record information to which the order pertains. The department shall forward the order to expunge to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The clerk of the court shall certify a copy of the order to any other agency which the records of the court reflect has received the criminal history record from the court.

(c) For an order to expunge entered by a court prior to July 1, 1992, the department shall notify the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor of an order to expunge which is contrary to law because the person who is the subject of the record has previously been convicted of a crime or comparable ordinance violation or has had a prior criminal history record sealed or expunged. Upon receipt of such notice, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action, within 60 days, to correct the record and petition the court to void the order to expunge. The department shall seal the record until such time as the order is voided by the court.

(d) On or after July 1, 1992, the department or any other criminal justice agency is not required to act on an order to expunge entered by a court when such order does not comply with the requirements of this section. Upon receipt of such an order, the department must notify the issuing court, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor, the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney, and the arresting agency of the reason for noncompliance. The appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action within 60 days to correct the record and petition the court to void the order. No cause of action, including contempt of court, shall arise against any criminal justice agency for failure to comply with an order to expunge when the petitioner for such order failed to obtain the certificate of eligibility as required by this section or such order does not otherwise comply with the requirements of this section.

(4) EFFECT OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD EXPUNCTION.--Any criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered expunged by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this section must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record; except that any criminal history record in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases. A criminal history record ordered expunged that is retained by the department is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and not available to any person or entity except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge.

(a) The person who is the subject of a criminal history record that is expunged under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:

1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;

2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;

3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section or s. 943.059;

4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;

5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly as provided in s. 110.1127(3), s. 393.063, s. 394.4572(1), s. 397.451, s. 402.302(3), s. 402.313(3), s. 409.175(2)(i), s. 415.102(4), chapter 916, s. 985.644, chapter 400, or chapter 429;

6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities; or

7. Is seeking authorization from a seaport listed in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12.

(b) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (a), a person who has been granted an expunction under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person's failure to recite or acknowledge an expunged criminal history record.

(c) Information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record which is provided in accordance with paragraph (a) is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the department shall disclose the existence of a criminal history record ordered expunged to the entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 7. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes, and to criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes. It is unlawful for any employee of an entity set forth in subparagraph (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., subparagraph (a)5., subparagraph (a)6., or subparagraph (a)7. to disclose information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record of a person seeking employment, access authorization, or licensure with such entity or contractor, except to the person to whom the criminal history record relates or to persons having direct responsibility for employment, access authorization, or licensure decisions. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(5) STATUTORY REFERENCES.--Any reference to any other chapter, section, or subdivision of the Florida Statutes in this section constitutes a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by reference.

History.--s. 3, ch. 92-73; s. 43, ch. 93-39; s. 1, ch. 94-127; s. 19, ch. 94-154; s. 95, ch. 94-209; s. 140, ch. 95-418; s. 3, ch. 95-427; s. 52, ch. 96-169; s. 7, ch. 96-402; s. 443, ch. 96-406; s. 1847, ch. 97-102; s. 57, ch. 98-280; s. 115, ch. 99-3; s. 10, ch. 99-188; s. 4, ch. 99-300; s. 16, ch. 99-304; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 27, ch. 2000-320; s. 115, ch. 2000-349; s. 4, ch. 2001-127; s. 1, ch. 2002-212; ss. 8, 97, ch. 2004-267; s. 1, ch. 2004-295; s. 22, ch. 2005-128; s. 118, ch. 2006-120; s. 10, ch. 2006-176; s. 27, ch. 2006-195; s. 109, ch. 2006-197; s. 5, ch. 2008-249; s. 8, ch. 2009-171.

943.059 Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records.

The courts of this state shall continue to have jurisdiction over their own procedures, including the maintenance, sealing, and correction of judicial records containing criminal history information to the extent such procedures are not inconsistent with the conditions, responsibilities, and duties established by this section. Any court of competent jurisdiction may order a criminal justice agency to seal the criminal history record of a minor or an adult who complies with the requirements of this section. The court shall not order a criminal justice agency to seal a criminal history record until the person seeking to seal a criminal history record has applied for and received a certificate of eligibility for sealing pursuant to subsection (2). A criminal history record that relates to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s. 847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, may not be sealed, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld, if the defendant was found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense, or if the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing the offense as a delinquent act. The court may only order sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity, except as provided in this section. The court may, at its sole discretion, order the sealing of a criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. If the court intends to order the sealing of records pertaining to such additional arrests, such intent must be specified in the order. A criminal justice agency may not seal any record pertaining to such additional arrests if the order to seal does not articulate the intention of the court to seal records pertaining to more than one arrest. This section does not prevent the court from ordering the sealing of only a portion of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a criminal justice agency may comply with laws, court orders, and official requests of other jurisdictions relating to sealing, correction, or confidential handling of criminal history records or information derived therefrom. This section does not confer any right to the sealing of any criminal history record, and any request for sealing a criminal history record may be denied at the sole discretion of the court.

(1) PETITION TO SEAL A CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD.--Each petition to a court to seal a criminal history record is complete only when accompanied by:

(a) A valid certificate of eligibility for sealing issued by the department pursuant to subsection (2).

(b) The petitioner's sworn statement attesting that the petitioner:

1. Has never, prior to the date on which the petition is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

2. Has not been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.

3. Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, former s. 943.058, or from any jurisdiction outside the state.

4. Is eligible for such a sealing to the best of his or her knowledge or belief and does not have any other petition to seal or any petition to expunge pending before any court.

Any person who knowingly provides false information on such sworn statement to the court commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR SEALING.--Prior to petitioning the court to seal a criminal history record, a person seeking to seal a criminal history record shall apply to the department for a certificate of eligibility for sealing. The department shall, by rule adopted pursuant to chapter 120, establish procedures pertaining to the application for and issuance of certificates of eligibility for sealing. A certificate of eligibility for sealing is valid for 12 months after the date stamped on the certificate when issued by the department. After that time, the petitioner must reapply to the department for a new certificate of eligibility. Eligibility for a renewed certification of eligibility must be based on the status of the applicant and the law in effect at the time of the renewal application. The department shall issue a certificate of eligibility for sealing to a person who is the subject of a criminal history record provided that such person:

(a) Has submitted to the department a certified copy of the disposition of the charge to which the petition to seal pertains.

(b) Remits a $75 processing fee to the department for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, unless such fee is waived by the executive director.

(c) Has never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).

(d) Has not been adjudicated guilty of or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.

(e) Has never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058.

(f) Is no longer under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to seal pertains.

(3) PROCESSING OF A PETITION OR ORDER TO SEAL.--

(a) In judicial proceedings under this section, a copy of the completed petition to seal shall be served upon the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and upon the arresting agency; however, it is not necessary to make any agency other than the state a party. The appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency may respond to the court regarding the completed petition to seal.

(b) If relief is granted by the court, the clerk of the court shall certify copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and to the arresting agency. The arresting agency is responsible for forwarding the order to any other agency to which the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history record information to which the order pertains. The department shall forward the order to seal to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The clerk of the court shall certify a copy of the order to any other agency which the records of the court reflect has received the criminal history record from the court.

(c) For an order to seal entered by a court prior to July 1, 1992, the department shall notify the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor of any order to seal which is contrary to law because the person who is the subject of the record has previously been convicted of a crime or comparable ordinance violation or has had a prior criminal history record sealed or expunged. Upon receipt of such notice, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action, within 60 days, to correct the record and petition the court to void the order to seal. The department shall seal the record until such time as the order is voided by the court.

(d) On or after July 1, 1992, the department or any other criminal justice agency is not required to act on an order to seal entered by a court when such order does not comply with the requirements of this section. Upon receipt of such an order, the department must notify the issuing court, the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor, the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney, and the arresting agency of the reason for noncompliance. The appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor shall take action within 60 days to correct the record and petition the court to void the order. No cause of action, including contempt of court, shall arise against any criminal justice agency for failure to comply with an order to seal when the petitioner for such order failed to obtain the certificate of eligibility as required by this section or when such order does not comply with the requirements of this section.

(e) An order sealing a criminal history record pursuant to this section does not require that such record be surrendered to the court, and such record shall continue to be maintained by the department and other criminal justice agencies.

(4) EFFECT OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD SEALING.--A criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered sealed by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to this section is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and is available only to the person who is the subject of the record, to the subject's attorney, to criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes, which include conducting a criminal history background check for approval of firearms purchases or transfers as authorized by state or federal law, to judges in the state courts system for the purpose of assisting them in their case-related decisionmaking responsibilities, as set forth in s. 943.053(5), or to those entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes.

(a) The subject of a criminal history record sealed under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the sealed record, except when the subject of the record:

1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;

2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;

3. Concurrently or subsequently petitions for relief under this section or s. 943.0585;

4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;

5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly as provided in s. 110.1127(3), s. 393.063, s. 394.4572(1), s. 397.451, s. 402.302(3), s. 402.313(3), s. 409.175(2)(i), s. 415.102(4), s. 415.103, chapter 916, s. 985.644, chapter 400, or chapter 429;

6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;

7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history check under state or federal law; or

8. Is seeking authorization from a Florida seaport identified in s. 311.09 for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports pursuant to s. 311.12.

(b) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (a), a person who has been granted a sealing under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058 may not be held under any provision of law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person's failure to recite or acknowledge a sealed criminal history record.

(c) Information relating to the existence of a sealed criminal record provided in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the department shall disclose the sealed criminal history record to the entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8. for their respective licensing, access authorization, and employment purposes. It is unlawful for any employee of an entity set forth in subparagraph (a)1., subparagraph (a)4., subparagraph (a)5., subparagraph (a)6., or subparagraph (a)8. to disclose information relating to the existence of a sealed criminal history record of a person seeking employment, access authorization, or licensure with such entity or contractor, except to the person to whom the criminal history record relates or to persons having direct responsibility for employment, access authorization, or licensure decisions. Any person who violates the provisions of this paragraph commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(5) STATUTORY REFERENCES.--Any reference to any other chapter, section, or subdivision of the Florida Statutes in this section constitutes a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by reference.

History.--s. 4, ch. 92-73; s. 44, ch. 93-39; s. 3, ch. 94-127; s. 20, ch. 94-154; s. 96, ch. 94-209; s. 4, ch. 95-427; s. 53, ch. 96-169; s. 8, ch. 96-402; s. 444, ch. 96-406; s. 1848, ch. 97-102; s. 58, ch. 98-280; s. 116, ch. 99-3; s. 10, ch. 99-188; s. 5, ch. 99-300; s. 17, ch. 99-304; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 28, ch. 2000-320; s. 5, ch. 2001-127; s. 1, ch. 2002-212; ss. 9, 98, ch. 2004-267; s. 2, ch. 2004-295; s. 23, ch. 2005-128; s. 119, ch. 2006-120; s. 11, ch. 2006-176; s. 28, ch. 2006-195; s. 110, ch. 2006-197; s. 6, ch. 2008-249; s. 9, ch. 2009-171.

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