Record Expungement Lawyer in Miami, FL

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in the past, you probably already know how that singular event can thrust your life into utter chaos. Criminal charges, even for a misdemeanor crime, like domestic violence or petit theft, can have the potential to impact greatly on your finances, employment, and social life. Further, the negative aspects of being criminally charged can reach far beyond the immediate effects. In fact, the lingering effects of having a criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. That is why it is critical to hire a Miami seal and expunge lawyer with the necessary experience to clean your record.

The most common danger associated with having a criminal record is the effect it can have on your ability to gain quality employment. It is commonplace for employers to conduct background checks on prospective employees routinely. In addition, background searches can occur in relation to applications for credit, housing, education, state licensing, and other important areas of your life. Some private investigators even offer to run criminal background checks for people who want to check out their new boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you have been found guilty or pled no contest to a crime, that information is part of the public record and can easily be detected using a routine background search. Even if your criminal defense lawyer was able to have had the charges against you dismissed, there will still be a public record reflecting that you have been arrested and what you were charged with.

Fortunately, the state of Florida offers a legal process to seal or expunge your criminal record if you meet certain requirements. If you meet the applicable criteria, you can have your records removed from public view. Unfortunately, expunging a federal criminal case is generally not possible. Under federal law, only a person who is guilty of a minor drug offense may have their record expunged.

In order to qualify to have your arrest record sealed or expunged, you cannot have a prior conviction (adjudication of guilt) on your record in Florida or from any other state. Even a conviction for a minor traffic criminal offense like a DUI or driving with a suspended license will disqualify you. When processing applications, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) checks state, national, and criminal traffic records.

Seal or Expunge the Record?

If you are eligible for expungement, that automatically means that you would also qualify to have it sealed. Most people choose to have their records expunged if they qualify.


Under Florida’s expungement law, as long as you don’t have a previous conviction, you generally qualify for criminal record expungement in the following circumstances:

  • the prosecutor didn’t file charges in your case, and there was no criminal prosecution (“no action” or “no information”)
  • the prosecutor voluntarily dismissed the case after filing charges (“nolle pros”)
  • the judge dismissed the case
  • you were acquitted (found not guilty) of all charges 

You cannot qualify to have your case expunged if you pled guilty or no contest—even if adjudication was withheld. The expungement process has an additional step that is not required if you are doing a record sealing. In order to submit an application for a certificate of eligibility to FDLE, you must first have a prosecutor sign/approve it.


If you pled guilty or no contest and the judge withheld adjudication (gave you a withhold of adjudication), you may qualify to seal your arrest record. This is assuming you don’t have a previous conviction and your case didn’t involve a charge that’s prohibited from being sealed (see below).

The Difference Between Sealing & Expunging Records

Although the public will not be able to view a sealed or expunged criminal history record, there are a limited number of governmental or related entities that have access to sealed criminal records. An expunged record, on the other hand, isn’t accessible to most entities without a court order. Agencies that have access to sealed records are notified if a record has been expunged but cannot see the records themselves. Some examples of entities that have access to sealed records are criminal justice agencies, law enforcement agencies, and government agencies responsible for licensing.

Charges that Cannot be Sealed or Expunged?

Under Florida Statute Section 943.0584, the following criminal offenses cannot be sealed (even if you received a “withhold of adjudication”). Also, even if sealed for ten years under an earlier law, the following offenses cannot be expunged:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Illegal use of explosives
  • Terrorism
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter or homicide,
  • Domestic violence assault or battery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Felony battery, domestic battery by strangulation, or aggravated battery
  • Stalking or aggravated stalking
  • Luring or enticing a child
  • Human trafficking
  • Kidnapping or false imprisonment
  • Any offense defined in chapter 794, Florida Statutes
  • Procuring a person less than 18 years of age for prostitution
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age
  • Arson
  • Burglary of a dwelling
  • Voyeurism or video voyeurism
  • Robbery or robbery by sudden snatching
  • Carjacking
  • Home-invasion robbery
  • A violation of the Florida Communications Fraud Act
  • Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
  • Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person or disabled person
  • Child abuse or aggravated child abuse
  • Sexual performance by a child
  • Any offense defined in chapter 839, Florida Statutes
  • Certain acts in connection with obscenity
  • Any offense defined in Florida Statute 847.0135
  • Selling or buying of minors
  • Aircraft piracy
  • Manufacturing a controlled substance in violation of chapter 893, Florida Statutes
  • Drug trafficking
  • Any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator or sexual offender, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require registration  

Contact Experienced Miami Sealing and Expungement Attorneys

Over the years, our Miami sealing and expungement attorneys have assisted hundreds of clients in sealing or expunging all types of criminal cases. CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our confidential and secure intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.


*Due to the large number of people who contact us requesting our assistance in expunging or sealing their criminal records, it is strongly suggested that you take the time to provide us with specific details regarding your case by filling out our confidential and secure intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry in a timely and appropriate manner.