These instructions are intended as a brief guide for those who wish to seal or expunge their criminal history record. They are not intended to replace the assistance of a qualified attorney.
Apply for Certificate of Eligibility
Before you can file your petition to seal or expunge your criminal history record with the court, you must apply to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a certificate of eligibility for sealing or expungement. The application for the certificate of eligibility must include:
- A money order or cashier' s check for $75.00 made payable to Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This processing fee is non-refundable, regardless of the results of the certification review.
- A completed Application for Certification of Eligibility. Make sure your signature, as the applicant, is notarized. Section A must be completed by you and if you are seeking an expungement in addition to section A, section B must be submitted for completion to the State Attorney or the Statewide Prosecutor. The Application for Certification of Eligibility form (form number FDLE 40-021) may be obtained from one of the following locations:
Clerk of the Circuit Court - Sarasota Main Office
2000 Main Street, 1st floor Public Access
Sarasota, FL 34237
Clerk of the Circuit Court - Venice Branch Office
4000 South Tamiami Trail, 2nd floor
Venice, FL 34293
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
ATTENTION: Expunge/ Seal Section
P.O. Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1489
FDLE Seal and Expunge Process
- A legible set of fingerprints recorded on an FBI Applicant Card (Form-40-024). The fingerprinting must be done by a law enforcement agency. The Applicant Fingerprint Card may be obtained from the Clerk and Comptroller's Office or the Florida Department of Law Enforcements website at the addresses listed in paragraph 1 above.
- A certified copy of the disposition of the charge(s) to which the petition to seal or expunge pertains. This can be obtained from the Clerk and Comptroller's Office in the County where your case was filed and finalized.
The completed Application for Certificate of Eligibility should be mailed to:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
ATTENTION: Seal/Expunge Section
Post Office Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1489
If the Application for Certificate of Eligibility form is incomplete, the Department will not process it. The incomplete form, along with the processing fee, will be returned to you with an indication as to the reason for non-acceptance. If the application is complete, the Department will review it to determine if it meets the requirements for sealing or expungement. The Department will send you, via certified mail, return receipt requested, a certificate of eligibility if your criminal history records meets the requirements or a letter stating the reason for ineligibility.
The following requirements must be met before the Department will issue you a Certificate of Eligibility.
- You have never previously been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation or adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in 943.051(3) b. Certain driving violations are classified as criminal, such as DUI, Reckless Driving, and (with some exceptions) Driving While License is Suspended/Canceled/Revoked.
- You have not been adjudicated guilty of any of the charges stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition pertains.
- You have never secured a prior sealing or expungement of a criminal history record under 943.0585, 943.059, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, or from any jurisdiction outside the state.
- You are eligible for such a sealing or expungement to the best of your knowledge or belief and do not have any other petition to seal or any petition to expunge pending before any court.
No sealing or expungement of criminal history records that relate to certain violations where the defendant was found or pled guilty (without regard to whether adjudication was withheld) is allowed. Those " no sealing/expungement" violations are:
- F.S. 393.135 (Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses)
- F.S. 394.4593 (Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses);
- F.S. 787.025 (Luring or enticing a child)
- Chapter 794 (Sexual Battery and related offenses)
- F.S. 796.03 (Procuring person under 18 for Prostitution)
- F.S. 800.04 (Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age)
- F.S. 810.14 (Voyeurism)
- F.S. 817.034 (Florida Communication Fraud Act - Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud, as used in s.817.034, F.S.)
- F.S. 825.1025 (Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person)
- F.S. 827.071 (Sexual performance by a child)
- Chapter 839 (Offenses by Public Officers and Employees)
- F.S. 847.0133 (Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor)
- F.S. 847.0135 (Computer pornography)
- F.S. 847.0145 (Selling or buying of minors)
- F.S. 893.135 (Trafficking in controlled substances)
- F.S. 916.1075 (Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses)
- A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under F.S. 775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under F.S. 943.0435
Or, any violations enumerated in F.S. 907.041 (" dangerous crimes”) or any attempted violation of them:
- Aggravated Assault
- 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
- Sexual Battery
- Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the 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
- Act of Domestic Violence as defined in Florida Statute 741.28
- Home-invasion Robbery
- Act of Terrorism as defined by s. 775.30
- Manufacturing any substances in violation of Chapter 893
- Attempting or Conspiring to Commit any Such Crime
- Home-Invasion Robbery
The Clerk and Comptroller's provides form packets which contain three documents:
- Affidavit (which must be notarized)
You may also print forms from the FDLE website.
The statutory fees required by the Clerk and Comptroller's Office are:
- $42.00 filing fee
- $1.00 per page for copies
- $2.00 for certification of the Order
(NOTE: Sealing/Expungement of your record is required to be sent to all law enforcement agencies that have your criminal record on file.)
You must file, with the Clerk and Comptroller's Office, the original completed Petition, Affidavit, and Certificate of Eligibility along with the appropriate fees before the Judge will be able to rule on your case.