Process for Sealing Juvenile Records in Florida
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The process for record sealing in Florida is almost identical to the expunction process. You must first apply for a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) prior to filing a petition with the court to seal a criminal history record. Attach to the Application, a certified copy of the disposition of each charge you are seeking to have sealed. Certified copies of disposition must be purchased from the clerk's office where your case was filed.
If your application is approved and you receive a Certificate of Eligibility, then you will need to file several forms with the Clerk of the Court. These include an affidavit (written statement), a petition to seal, an order to seal, and the original Certificate of Eligibility.
Processing fees and any outstanding fines must be paid to the court in advance.
Where a juvenile diversion program was involved, the law requires that the application for expunction of the record be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement no later than six months after completion of the program. (After that time period, the individual applies for a regular sealing or expunction.) Furthermore, the following documents have to be provided:
- Section A of the application for expunction must be completed by the applicant and signed by the applicant's legal guardian if under the age of 18 at the time of signing. The signature must be notarized.
- The application costs $75.00. This is nonrefundable, payable to the FDLE only as a cashier's check or money order, and due at the time of application.
- If you want your record expunged, the state attorney or statewide prosecutor must complete Section B of the application, certifying that an authorized pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program has been completed. Otherwise, the application will be processed as a sealing rather than an expunction.
- All documents must be submitted in a timely manner. The diversion program must be completed in a timely manner. And "expunction" is available only to those minor offenders who were charged with nonviolent misdemeanors.
All completed application materials must then be mailed to:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Attn: Expunge/Seal Section Post Office Box 1489 Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489.
The FDLE also has an information line to which questions about this process can be directed. It is: (850) 410-7870.
The Florida statutes for definitions of the relevant terms, including "expunction" as it relates to minors and "nonviolent misdemeanor," can be found at s.943.0582.
For more articles on Florida expunctions, click on the following: