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Expungement / Record Sealing FAQs

Not everybody has a criminal record, but the people who do often know that they want to get rid of it. The unfortunate truth is that even fewer people qualify to have their criminal records sealed or expunged.

Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC helps clients all over the greater Melbourne area with the expunction or sealing of criminal records, including communities in Volusia County, Osceola County, Brevard County, Indian River County, Seminole County, and Orange County. Our Melbourne expungement attorneys can review your case as soon as you call (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

This section of our website is dedicated to providing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding criminal record sealing or expunction. You can learn more about the difference between sealing and expunging records as well as how the entire process works by visiting our page on record sealing and expungement.


Overview of Melbourne Expungement and Record Sealing FAQs


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What records cannot be sealed or expunged?

You are ineligible to expunge or seal the criminal record for any offense for which you pleaded guilty, were found guilty, or pleaded nolo contendere (no contest). The following are considered disqualifying charges under the Florida Statutes that cannot be sealed or expunged, even if an adjudication of guilt was withheld:

  • Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
  • Act of domestic violence;
  • Act of terrorism;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Aggravated battery;
  • Aircraft piracy;
  • Arson;
  • Burglary of a dwelling;
  • Carjacking;
  • Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
  • Computer pornography or traveling to meet minor;
  • Florida Communications Fraud Act;
  • Home invasion robbery;
  • Homicide;
  • Illegal use of explosives;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age;
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person;
  • Luring or enticing a child;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Manufacturing any substances in violation of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act;
  • Offense by public officers and employees;
  • Procuring person under age of 18 for prostitution;
  • Robbery;
  • Selling or buying of minors;
  • Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of person in familial or custodial authority;
  • Sexual battery;
  • Sexual misconduct of the mentally disabled;
  • Sexual performance by a child;
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking;
  • Trafficking in controlled substances;
  • Voyeurism; or
  • Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the crimes listed above.

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Why do I have a criminal record if the charges were dropped?

A criminal record is created as soon as a person is arrested and fingerprinted. The record includes the ultimate disposition of that arrest, but the record of the actual arrest remains public regardless of the case outcome.


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How many times can a person have a criminal record expunged or sealed?

Under Florida Statute § 943.0585, a person can only expunge the criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity.


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Can I seal or expunge multiple arrests at once?

In certain cases, a person may be able to expunge the criminal history record pertaining to more than one arrest, but only if the additional arrests directly relate to the original arrest. You are only allowed to expunge records relating to a single criminal incident.


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Can I seal or expunge a Florida arrest if I had a criminal record sealed or expunged in another state?

Yes. As of July 1, 2013, criminal records sealed or expunged in jurisdictions outside the state of Florida no longer disqualify applicants from to sealing or expunging Florida criminal records.


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Can a charge be expunged or sealed if adjudication was withheld or deferred?

Yes. When judges withhold or defer adjudications of guilt in certain cases, alleged offenders can be found guilty without necessarily being convicted. As a result, these offenses may be sealed or expunged.


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Will I be required to appear in court?

In most cases, no court appearance is required. If the State Attorney's Office has any objections though, a hearing may be required at which an appearance would be in your best interest in order to have you personally attest to the importance of having your record sealed or expunged.


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How does the expungement process work if I was arrested by mistake?

Under Florida Statute § 943.0581, a person who was arrested contrary to law or by mistake is entitled to an administrative expunction that will not prohibit them from sealing or expunging another arrest. Applications for administrative expunction must be supported by the endorsement of the head of the arresting agency, the state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the arrest occurred, or either of their designees.


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How long will it take for a criminal record to be removed from public view?

The amount of time that it takes to complete the process of expunging or sealing a criminal record varies, depending on the current caseload and staffing of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). You should generally expect it to take approximately six months, although it may take up to nine months in some cases.


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Will I be able deny an arrest occurred after my record has been expunged or sealed?

Florida Statute § 943.0585 states that a person whose criminal record is expunged can lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when he or she is:

  • Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
  • Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
  • Concurrently or subsequently petitions for expunction relief;
  • Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
  • Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Families, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Health, the Department of Elderly Affairs, 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 disabled, or the elderly;
  • 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;
  • Is seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services; or
  • Is seeking to be appointed as a guardian.

If you have any additional questions, the Melbourne criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC can provide answers during a free, confidential consultation as soon as you call (321) 253-3447.

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The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. The legal information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, FL, for advice regarding your own individual situation.
We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us, however, does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until after an attorney-client relationship has been established.
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