SEALINGS AND EXPUNCTIONS
Florida Statutes 943.0585 and 943.059
The above two statutes pertain to the (judicial) expunction and sealing of judicial records containing criminal history information and also criminal history records of a minor or adult held by a criminal justice agency.
The expunctions and sealings obtained via the process above are separate and distinct from Fla. Stat. 943.0581 regarding the administrative expunction of nonjudicial records of both adults or minors and Fla. Stat. 943.0582 regarding pre-arrest, post-arrest, or teen court diversion expunction also of nonjudicial record of arrests of a minor.
In returning to the general expunction and sealing statutes above, Fla. Stats. 943.0585 and 943.059, let me explain some basic differences between the two. Firstly, an expunction is a destruction of court and criminal justice agency records, while a sealing is only a sealing of those existing records. However, once the court signs either order, a criminal history record retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is confidential and exempt from the provisions of section 119.07(1) and section 24(a), Articles of the State Constitution, and not available to any person or entity except on order of court of competent jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge or seal. In the case of a sealed record, the subject of the record, his attorney, a criminal justice agency, certain judges, and certain entities set forth in subparagraphs (a)1., 4., 5., 6., and 8., of Fla. Stat. 943.053(5) may gain access to such records.
In general terms, one may obtain an expunction, if the charge in question is either no-filed or dismissed in court, the accused has never been convicted of a crime and has never received a prior expunction or sealing under these chapters or their predecessors. Also, if one has had a record sealed under 943.059 for ten (10) years, he or she may now be eligible for an expunction if the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.
One may obtain a sealing in the State of Florida, if the case resulted in the offender receiving a withhold of adjudication and the accused has never been convicted of a crime and has never received a prior expunction or sealing under these chapters or their predecessors. However, even with a withhold of adjudication, the sealing statute, 943.059, specifically prohibits a sealing of criminal history records that relate to the violation of certain criminal statutes in Florida.
Those prohibited statutes are:
393.135, 394.4593, 787.025, 794, 796.03, 800.04, 810.14, 817.034, 825.1025, 827.071, 839, 847.0133, 847.0135, 847.0145, 893.135, 916.1075, a violation enumerated in 907.041 or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to section 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to 943.0435.
NOTE: The sealing or expunction statutes do not confer a right to the sealing or expunction of criminal history records and any request may be denied at the sole discretion of the court.