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Last Updated on: 3rd November 2023, 07:11 pm
How to Expunge a Felony in Florida
Having a felony conviction on your record can make life very difficult in Florida. Expungement provides the chance for a truly clean slate by erasing the felony from public view. But expunging felonies in Florida is limited to very specific circumstances.
This article explains everything you need to know about expunging felonies in Florida – the requirements, process, costs, and what happens after. Let’s dig in…
What is Felony Expungement in Florida?
Expungement of a criminal record in Florida means to physically destroy or obliterate the record. For felonies, expungement can only apply to charges that did not result in conviction.
If you were arrested for a felony but not convicted, and meet other requirements, you may be able to expunge the arrest record and related court records.
Requirements to Expunge a Felony Arrest in Florida
To qualify for felony expungement in Florida, you must meet all of the following:
- Charges were dropped or dismissed prior to trial
- No prior felony convictions ever
- No prior sealing or expungement of a criminal record
- No pending criminal cases
- 10 year waiting period after arrest
You can only expunge one arrest record. Certain very serious felonies often cannot be expunged.
The Felony Expungement Process in Florida
Expunging a felony arrest record involves a multi-step court process including:
- Obtain certificate of eligibility from FDLE
- File petition for expungement in court
- Attend court hearing if required
- Court enters expungement order if approved
- Records are destroyed by agencies
Completing the entire expungement process takes 6-12 months with an attorney’s help.
Sealing Records vs. Expungement
Sealing just makes records confidential but doesn’t erase them. Sealing has less strict eligibility requirements.
Many pursue sealing first, then expungement later. An attorney can advise the best strategic approach.
Cost to Expunge a Felony in Florida
Typical costs to expunge a felony in Florida include:
- $75 FDLE application fee
- $42 court filing fee
- $2/page for certified copies
- $1000+ attorney fees
Shop around, as attorney fees can vary widely. Some offer flat rates.
After Felony Expungement in Florida
After successful expungement, you can legally deny the felony arrest ever occurred, including on job and housing applications.
Exceptions are applications for law enforcement, the Florida Bar, and certain professional licenses. Be careful not to provide false information on these.
Expungement Does Not Restore Gun Rights
Felony expungement does not automatically restore your right to own or possess firearms in Florida. That requires a separate clemency petition.
As you can see, expunging felonies in Florida is very limited. But for qualifying arrests without conviction, it offers the chance to fully clear your name.
Consult an attorney to evaluate your specific circumstances. Proper legal advice provides the best chance to erase a past mistake.
I know the process is daunting, but an attorney can guide you through each step. There is hope for a clean slate if you meet the requirements.
Let me know if you have any other questions on expunging felonies in Florida!