Sealing & Expungement of Criminal Records

If you have ever been arrested, you may now realize that the criminal arrest record arising from your arrest can cause you problems in employment, housing, and other situations when a Florida criminal background check is done. Even in cases where the charges have been dropped or the judge withheld an adjudication of guilt, the criminal record may still be causing you problems.

If you qualify, sealing or expunging your criminal arrest records can allow you to move on with your life and truly put your past arrest behind you. Once the sealing or expungement of your Florida criminal record is granted by the court  the withhold of adjudication or dismissal of your felony or misdemeanor criminal charge will no longer be available as a public record. Also, if you seal or expunge the Florida criminal record, you can legally deny or fail to acknowledge anything to do with the arrest and the legal proceedings from the case itself.

For more information on sealing or expungement, contact a lawyer at Palma Law Group, P.A. for a FREE CONSULTATION and CASE REVIEW.

How Long Does It Take To Have A Florida Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged?

The average time to complete a Florida record sealing or expungement is 5-7 months on average. The length of time depends on various factors:

Whether your case is going to be a sealing or expungement (expungements take a bit more time due to additional legal requirements);

How fast the state attorney sign off on the disposition of your case (for expungements only);

The county your case is in (Some county clerk’s offices are just more efficient than others);

How fast the FDLE can issue the certificate of eligibility. The FDLE (Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement) must grant a required certificate of eligibility or the court won’t consider your petition to seal or expunge. The FDLE can sometimes take 3-5 months to process your application to seal or expunge your record depending on their backlog of cases;

The procedure for having the final petition considered. Again, some counties are just more efficient than others when we are at the final stage of your case. Also, each judge has their own procedure for setting seal/expunge cases for final hearing. Depending on the county and the judge’s own procedure, this also can affect the time it takes to finally complete the sealing or expungement of your case.


STEP 1 – Determine if you qualify. These are the basic requirements:
Have you ever had a record sealed or expunged before?;

Have you ever been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony or misdemeanor offense?

Are you currently under court supervision (probation, community control, or any other court mandated program) ?;

Is your offense one for which you received a WITHHOLD OF ADJUDICATION.

STEP 2 – If you answered “No” to the four questions above you may qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. If you answered “YES” to any one of the questions above, you will not qualify. If unsure, please contact a lawyer at Palma Law Group, P.A. for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.

COMPLETION TIME: Please keep in mind that sealing or expunging a record can take 5-7 months on average. The sooner you start the sooner it will be done. We are often asked if it can be done faster. The answer is no. Also, there is no extra fee you can pay to get it done faster either. There are several agencies that must be dealt with in order to complete this legal process and each one of them takes their own respective time to complete their part.