How to Expunge a Felony in Florida

On behalf of Patrick McLain Law | February 28, 2024
Photo of Arrested Man

If you have a felony conviction on your record in Florida, it can impact your life in many ways. You may have trouble finding viable employment and you will have restricted rights. There is also the added stigma that comes from having a criminal record of this caliber.

Florida felony expungement may hold the key to reducing your burden. However, it may not always be possible to expunge a felony in Florida. At Patrick McLain Law, we can help determine if your felony conviction can be expunged and can provide legal assistance to you throughout this process. Read on to find out how to expunge a felony in Florida.

Expungement Requirements in Florida

Florida has a set list of basic criteria that must be met in order to expunge a felony. The expungement requirements in Florida state that you can’t have a previous record that was expunged or sealed. This requirement also includes any previous charges in any other state.

Additionally, you must first fully complete all of your sentencing terms, even probation, before you can be potentially eligible for Florida felony expungement. You should not be facing any criminal charges at the time you apply for the expungement process in Florida, and you must wait a specific period of time after your sentence has been completely served before you apply.

If you’re not sure whether you are eligible for Florida felony expungement, a criminal defense lawyer at Patrick McLain Law can help you overcome the many challenges and obstacles ahead.

Felonies Eligible for Expungement in Florida

According to the graph below, over two-thirds of the states in the U.S. have laws that provide eligibility for criminal record clearing. Florida is one of five states that doesn’t provide general conviction relief but there are specialized laws that may be applicable in your case.

Florida does allow for many third-degree felonies to be eligible for expungement. Typically, possession of controlled substances are eligible as are certain first-time drug possession charges as long as you’ve successfully completed a drug court program. If this is your first offense and you were found to be not guilty, you could be eligible for the expungement process in Florida. Serious crimes such as murder, child abuse, and sexual assault can’t be expunged.

Understanding the Expungement Process in Florida

In Florida, the law permits you to expunge only one criminal record from your criminal history. You will have a criminal record if you are arrested and fingerprinted, even if the charges were dismissed or you were declared not guilty. If you were a juvenile offender, the arrests will automatically be removed from your record after seven years.

The process to expunge a felony in Florida requires you to gather all documentation related to your criminal record. Any arrest or conviction related to alcohol or drugs will also require to show evidence of your current sobriety. You must then apply for a certificate of eligibility for expungement, which you can obtain from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

After applying, you will then need to file a petition for relief with the court in the same county of your arrest. Following this step, you will then be required to notify various parties of your expungement request and seek a hearing. Ultimately, the judge at the hearing will decide whether or not to expunge your record.

Does Florida Have Any Exceptions Regarding Felony Expungement Laws?

Florida is incredibly strict when it comes to felony expungements. However, there are certain circumstances that may grant you exceptions to these rules.

Patrick McLain Law has years of experience successfully expunging felony charges. Contact our team today to discuss your case and learn about your legal options.


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