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Sealing Records and Expungement

After being arrested for alleged criminal offenses, many people assume that being found not guilty or having the criminal charges dropped means that the criminal records of the arrests go away. Unfortunately, an arrest in Florida remains a matter of public record even if the alleged offender was never adjudicated guilty of the crime in question.

The good news is that state law does allow individuals in these situations to have their criminal records sealed or expunged so they can legally deny that they were ever arrested. The process of sealing or expunging a criminal record, however, can be extremely complicated and has numerous restrictions not only on the number of times people can seal or expunge records but also the kinds of offenses that may be sealed or expunged.

Lawyer for Sealing Records and Expunction in Miami-Dade County, Florida

If you are currently exploring how to seal or expunge your criminal record in Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel for help satisfying all of the necessary requirements. The Hoffman Firm helps clients all over the greater Mimi-Dade County area, including Opa-locka, Miami, North Miami, South Miami, Key Biscayne, Aventura, Coral Gables, Hialeah, and many other surrounding communities.

Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman has extensive legal experience as a former Assistant State Attorney. You can have him provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (305) 249-0090 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


North Miami Sealing Records and Expungement Information Center


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Sealing Records vs. Expunction in Florida

Whether a person has a criminal record sealed or expunged, either process will remove the record from public view. Beyond the similar end result, what actually happens to the criminal record involved is quite different.

If a criminal record has been sealed, a record confidentially remains on file with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) as well as the courthouse and criminal justice agency that handled the case, but the record is not viewable by the public. When a person has a criminal record expunged, the record is physically destroyed and the FDLE maintains a confidential limited record of the person’s criminal history.

Individuals who have had their criminal records expunged or sealed may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by their expunged or sealed records, except when they:

  • Are candidates for employment with criminal justice agencies;
  • Are defendants in criminal prosecutions;
  • Concurrently or subsequently petition for relief under Florida Statute § 943.059 (Court-ordered sealing of criminal history records), Florida Statute § 943.0585 (Court-ordered expunction of criminal history records), or Florida Statute § 943.0583 (Human trafficking victim expunction);
  • Are candidates for admission to The Florida Bar;
  • Are 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;
  • Are 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;
  • Are seeking to be licensed by the Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services within the Department of Financial Services; or
  • Are seeking to be appointed as a guardian.

People who have had their criminal records sealed also cannot lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by their sealed records if they are attempting to purchase firearms from licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, or licensed dealers and are subject to criminal history checks under state or federal law, or if they are seeking to be licensed by the Bureau of License Issuance of the Division of Licensing within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm.


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Crimes That Cannot Be Sealed or Expunged in Miami-Dade County

People cannot seal or expunge their records if they were ever adjudicated guilty, they are in any diversion program or under court supervision, or they have previously sealed or expunged separate offenses from their criminal records. Alleged offenders also cannot seal or expunge criminal records if they were found guilty or pleaded guilty or nolo contrendere (no contest) to certain violations of state law even when adjudication was withheld.

Individuals are ineligible to have their records sealed or expunged if their arrests involved any one of the following offenses classified as a “dangerous crime” under Florida Statute § 907.041(4)(a):

  • Arson;
  • Aggravated battery;
  • Illegal use of explosives;
  • Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
  • Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
  • Aircraft piracy;
  • Homicide;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Sexual battery;
  • Carjacking;
  • Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in presence of a child under the age of 16 years;
  • 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;
  • Burglary of a dwelling;
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking;
  • Home invasion robbery;
  • Act of terrorism;
  • Manufacturing any substances in violation of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act; and
  • Attempting or conspiring to commit any crime listed above.

Additional arrests that can prohibit an individual from sealing or expunging a criminal record include alleged violations of the following statutes:

  • Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses, Florida Statute § 393.135;
  • Sexual misconduct with mentally ill person and related offenses, Florida Statute § 394.4593;
  • Luring or enticing a child, Florida Statute § 787.025;
  • Sexual battery and related offenses under Chapter 794 of the Florida Statutes;
  • Procuring person under 18 for prostitution, Florida Statute § 796.03;
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age, Florida Statute § 800.04;
  • Voyeurism, Florida Statute § 810.14;
  • Violations of the Florida Communication Fraud Act, Florida Statute § 817.034;
  • Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled adult, Florida Statute § 825.1025;
  • Sexual performance by a child, Florida Statute § 827.071;
  • Offenses by public officers and employees under Chapter 839 of the Florida Statutes;
  • Showing, etc., obscene literature to minor, Florida Statute § 847.0133;
  • Computer pornography, Florida Statute § 847.0135;
  • Selling or buying of minors, Florida Statute § 847.0145;
  • Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses, Florida Statute § 916.1075; or
  • A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under Florida Statute § 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under Florida Statute § 943.0435.

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Florida Sealing Records and Expunction Resources

Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records | Miami-Dade County — Learn more about how the expungement and record sealing process works in Miami-Dade County by visiting this section of the Clerk of the Courts Office’s website. You can find more information about eligibility, fees that must be paid, and obtaining all necessary documents. The website also contains a link to obtain a certified copy of the final disposition for the record an applicant is seeking to have sealed or expunged.

Clerk of the Courts
Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building
1351 NW 12th Street
Miami, FL 33125
(305) 275-1155

Florida Criminal Record Resources | The Papillon Foundation — The Papillon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation “formed in direct response to the mass incarceration of millions of men and women in jails and prisons throughout the United States.” It provides free links to web-based resources for the expungement and sealing of criminal records throughout the country, and the Florida section contains links to forms for adult and juvenile criminal records. People who are ineligible to have their records sealed or expunged can also find a link to download forms for pardons or other relief.


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The Hoffman Firm | Miami Sealing Records and Expungement Lawyer

Do you need help sealing or expunging your criminal record in Florida? The Hoffman Firm assists clients all over Miami-Dade with the complex paperwork involved in criminal record sealing and expunction cases.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who represents clients in such communities as Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Homestead, Hialeah, Doral, Aventura, North Miami, South Miami, and Key Biscayne. Call (305) 249-0090 or complete an online contact form today to receive a free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and help you understand your legal options.


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All fields are required. The use of this form for communication with our personnel does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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