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Reasons for Denial of Sealing and Expungement


As a criminal defense practice, our office deals with petitions to seal and expunge on a weekly basis. Unfortunately many criminal lawyers are not familiar with the seal and expunction statute as enforced by the rules from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and more unfortunately some lawyers may misadvise their clients at the trial level or not advise their clients at all of the long term repercussions of their plea or resolution of the respective case. If you have been charged or arrested with any crime you must be cognizant of whether that crime can be sealed or expunged; not all offenses are expugnable or sealable and depending on a person’s record they may not be eligible at all. In today’s society where most records are publicly viewable, including mugshots, even proof of someone’s arrest, despite acquittal is party of the public domain and many times sealing and expungement does not “cleanse” a person’s name in totality of their respective criminal record. If you have been arrested early on you should be aware of whether your individual offense is sealable or expugnable to allow for trial and case strategy. If you have ever been convicted (adjudicated guilty) for any criminal offense previously in your life (including violations as minor as driving while license suspended) you will not be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged. Some offenses, including Driving Under the Influence and Fleeing and Eluding Law Enforcement with active lights and sirens require and adjudication. Also, you are only eligible for one petition to seal and expunge for your entire life and you must complete the period of supervision of applicable i.e. probation for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to grant the Certificate of Eligibility. Please review the following offenses below that will disqualify you from having the charge sealed or expunged despite whether there was a conviction. Again, if you have or are planning to plea guilty or no contest or have been found guilty of the following offenses you cannot have the said offense sealed or expunged per Florida Statutes:

  1. Aggravated Assault and Arson
  2. Aggravated Battery
  3. Illegal use of explosives
  4. Child abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse
  5. Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
  6. Aircraft piracy
  7. Kidnapping
  8. Homicide
  9. Manslaughter
  10. Sexual Battery
  11. Robbery
  12. Carjacking
  13. Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years
  14. 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 a person in familial or custodial authority
  15. Burglary of a dwelling
  16. Stalking and Aggravated Stalking
  17. Act of Domestic Violence as defined in s. 741.28 F.S.
  18. Home-invasion Robbery
  19. Act of Terrorism as defined by s. 775.30 F.S.
  20. Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893
  21. Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes

Please note the following sexual offenses that do not allow sealing and expungement

Sexual misconduct with develop mentally disabled person and related offenses
Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses
Luring or enticing a child
Sexual Battery and related offenses
Procuring person under 18 for prostitution
Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
Florida Communication Fraud Act
(Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud, as used in s.817.034, F.S.)
Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person
Sexual performance by a child
Offenses By Public Officers and Employees.
Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor
Computer pornography
Selling or buying of minors
Trafficking in controlled substances

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 s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435.