Seal or Expunge Criminal Records

Don't Let One Mistake Ruin the Rest of Your Life

Contrary to popular belief, a criminal arrest record does not simply go away over time. Instead, it will remain PUBLIC and PERMANENT unless a judge orders it to be sealed or expunged. Even without a conviction, a criminal case can cause people serious problems in employment, housing, and in other important areas.

What is the difference between having a record sealed and having a record expunged?
When a record is sealed, the public will not have access to it and it will not show up on any background check. The court will enter an order directing law enforcement agencies to remove the record from their computer systems and the file is literally placed in an envelope and sealed with tape that says it is not to be opened without a court order. The record will not, however, be physically destroyed. Despite being hidden from the public, the FDLE will reveal the existence of a sealed record to certain governmental or related entities if the individual is applying to them for employment or a professional license. Those entities are:

· A law enforcement agency
· The Department of Children and Family Services
· The Department of Juvenile Justice
· A contractor or licensee dealing with children
· The Department of Education
· Any public school
· Any private school
· The Florida Bar

When a record is expunged it is physically destroyed and it will not show up on any background check. Those entities which would have access to a sealed record (such as those listed above) will be informed that a record has been expunged by receiving a statement that criminal information has been expunged from this record. They will not have access to the information in the record unless they obtain a Court Order.

What is the process and how long will it take?

The process for sealing, which usually takes between 4 and 6 months, begins with a meeting where you provide us with information we will use to complete various documents needed for the process. These documents include the Application for Certification of Eligibility, the Petition for Sealing/Expungement of Records, the Order Granting Sealing/Expungement of Records, and an Affidavit. We will provide you with a fingerprint card which you will need to take to a local police station to have your fingerprints done.

Once we have all the information we need, we will request a certified copy of the disposition of the case you want sealed from the Clerk of the Court where the charges were filed.

Once all documents have been filled out, and signed and notarized and we have received the certified copy from the Clerk and we will forward the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the Application package for processing. The package consists of the Application, the certified copy of the case disposition, the fee and the fingerprint card.

When we receive the Certification of Eligibility from the FDLE, we will forward it to the Clerk with the Petition, Affidavit, and Order. The Judge will review all the paperwork, and if there is no objection or barriers to the sealing, he will sign the Order. The Clerk will then prepare certified copies to be forwarded to all law enforcement entities involved and to us. Once the law enforcement entities receive the Order to Seal, they will seal the record at their office. Once we receive our copy, we will forward a copy to you for your records.

The process for expunging is much the same as the process for sealing, except that before the Application package is forwarded to the FDLE, it must be forwarded to the State Attorney for their approval. Once we receive their sign off on the Application we then forward the Application package to the FDLE for processing.


If you are eligible, sealing or expunging a criminal arrest record is an easy way to put your past where it belongs... in your past. How does the process work? We begin by reviewing your criminal history and then applying for eligibility through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Upon receiving a Certificate of Eligibility, we will then petition the Court to seal or expunge your criminal arrest record. Once your criminal case is officially sealed or expunged, you can then LEGALLY deny or fail to acknowledge anything having to do with your arrest and criminal case!

Don't let that criminal arrest hold you back for any longer!    Contact the Gapske Law Firm today!