“I have always believed in second chances. As the Miami-Dade State Attorney, I have committed my office to finding ways to make that happen. “
The Sealing/Expungement program gives those who have been arrested the opportunity to have their record sealed or expunged. This provides the residents of our community with a number of better career, educational and housing opportunities. Having a second chance in life is an opportunity not to be missed. That is why our office is offering this Sealing and Expungement Program.
If you were charged with a crime in Miami-Dade County and the case did not result in a conviction, you may be eligible to have a single record sealed or expunged. Have you ever asked yourself:
- Can I seal or expunge my criminal record?
- When am I required to acknowledge sealing or expungement?
- Can I restore my right to vote?
We are here to answer these and other questions. For those who qualify we assist with processing the application for submission to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. If you do not qualify for Sealing or Expungement, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Parole Commission will be present at our next event to assist with restoring your civil rights.
The Community Outreach Division (COD) organizes “Second Chance One-Stop” Sealing and Expungement Events. These events bring all the necessary parties together at one place, hence the “One-Stop,” to minimize the cost and effort needed to seal and expunge one’s record. If someone was charged with a crime in Miami-Dade County and the case did not result in a conviction, that single record may be eligible for sealing or expungement. Only state criminal cases (not any Federal cases) that occurred in Miami-Dade County can be reviewed under this program.
The flyer below indicates where our next Sealing and Expungement Event will take place. All you need to bring to be seen is a valid picture ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or resident alien card.
Click here to print the flyer
Event Pre-Registration – Although it is not necessary to pre-register for the event you can fill out and submit the following Sealing & Expunging Pre-registration Form to see if you are eligible to seal or expunge a record. A representative will call you within the next 48 hours advising you of your eligibility.
After Attending the Event – Cick on the following What to do Next Form to print instructions on what you need to do after attending the event in order to complete the sealing/expungement process.
Sealing/Expungement FAQs – Click here to view a video from the state attorney addressing Sealing/Expungement FAQs.
The Application Process
NOTE: If you cannot attend our next One Stop Sealing/Expungement Event then you can attempt to seal or expunge your record by following the instructions below:
1) The first thing you need is an FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) Seal/Expunge packet. You can download this packet online at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/expunge/, or call FDLE’s Expunge Section in Tallahassee at (850) 410-7870 and request that a packet be sent to you. The packet contains the application form, instructions on how to complete and submit the form and a fingerprint form. Fill out the top part of the FDLE Application form completely. You must then sign the form, having your signature notarized by a notary public. (Some notary publics charge a fee for this service.)
2) You must obtain a certified copy of the disposition of the case you want to have sealed or expunged from the Criminal Court Clerk’s Office. The main office is located at 1351 Northwest 12 Street, 8th Floor. There is a fee for this certified copy, currently $7.00.
3) Go to your local police department and ask them to put your fingerprints on the fingerprint form that was in your packet. (Some police departments charge a fee for this service.) Make sure that you fill out the top part of the fingerprint card with your identifying information (name, race, sex, date of birth and social security number) and sign the card.
4) If you can only have your case sealed (you entered a plea or were found guilty) then you should send the completed application, fingerprint card, certified case disposition and a money order or cashier’s check in the amount of $75.00, made payable to Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to FDLE in Tallahassee. FDLE’s address is on the back of the application form.
5) If you can have your case expunged (all the charges were dismissed by the judge or dropped by the state), then Section B of the application form must be completed by the State Attorney’s Office. If the case you want to have expunged is a misdemeanor or criminal traffic case, take or mail the application to the State Attorney’s Office County Court Division at 1469 Northwest 13 Terrace, Miami, Florida 33125. If the case is a juvenile case, take or mail it to the State Attorney’s Office Juvenile Division at 3302 Northwest 27 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33142. If the case is a felony, take or mail it to the State Attorney’s Office at 1350 Northwest 12 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33136. Also include the certified copy of the case disposition with your application form. There is no charge for this service by the State Attorney’s Office. Your application and certified case disposition will be returned to you. Once you get the application back with Section B completed, then you mail the completed application, certified case disposition, fingerprint card and $75.00 fee to FDLE in Tallahassee.
6) FDLE will then research your criminal history to determine if you are eligible to have your case sealed or expunged. They will do a criminal history records check in Florida and throughout the United States. This process takes about a month. Once FDLE has finished reviewing your application, they will send you one of three things:
- A letter telling you that your case is not eligible and why
- A Certificate of Eligibility to Seal your case, or
- A Certificate of Eligibility to Expunge your case
If you receive a letter from FDLE advising you that your case is not eligible then you cannot proceed with this process until you take care of whatever they tell you the problem is. Unfortunately, there are times when your problem cannot be “fixed” meaning you simply just do not qualify to have your record sealed or expunged at this time.
The Court Process
Once you get your Certificate of Eligibility back from FDLE, you are halfway through the process. Take your Certificate of Eligibility back to the main office of the Clerk’s Office (1351 Northwest 12th Street, 8th floor); this can only be done at this location, not at the branch courts. Show them your Certificate of Eligibility, which will authorize either sealing or expungement. If your certificate is for a sealing, they will give you three forms that need to be filled out: a Petition to Seal, an Affidavit in Support of Petition to Seal and an Order to Seal. These are all fill-in-the-blank forms, asking for information such as your name, court case number, the date you were arrested, the charges involved and what police department arrested you. When you complete the Affidavit form, be sure to read it very carefully and make sure that it is right, because you will have to swear to it when you sign it before a Notary Public. If you are asking for an expungement, the process is the same but the forms are called Petition to Expunge, Affidavit in Support of Petition to Expunge and Order to Expunge. *Note that a Certificate of Eligibility is only valid for 12 months, so you should follow up in scheduling the matter for court promptly.
When you have filled in these forms, you must file them with the Clerk’s Office. There is a filing fee, which is currently $42.00. The Clerk’s Office will schedule your hearing date before the judge and tell you the time and date. You then appear at the hearing that has been set, your case will be called and the judge will hear your petition. If the State Attorney’s Office does not object to your petition, then the judge will grant your petition.
You do not need to do anything further in order for your case to be sealed or expunged. The Clerk’s Office will send certified copies of the judge’s order to all of the law enforcement agencies involved, and they will either seal or expunge your record as the judge has ordered.
The Effects of Sealing or Expunging
If your criminal history record is ordered sealed you may lawfully deny the existence of the record, except when you are:
- Applying for a job with a criminal justice agency,
- A defendant in a criminal prosecution,
- Applying for another sealing or expungement,
- Applying for admission to the Florida Bar,
- Seeking employment or licensing by the Department of Children and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged or the elderly,
- Seeking employment or licensing with the Department of Education, any district school board, university laboratory school, charter school, any private or parochial school or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities,
- Attempting to purchase a firearm and are subject to a criminal history background check, and
- Seeking authorization from a Florida seaport for employment within or access to one or more seaports.
Your sealed record is available only to you, your attorney, criminal justice agencies for their criminal justice purposes, judges in the state courts system for the purpose of assisting them in their case-related decision-making responsibilities, or any of the groups listed above when you apply for employment, licensing or access authorization.
When your criminal history record has been ordered expunged, it may be lawfully denied, with the exception of the same circumstances listed above (except number 7). A record that has been ordered expunged is to be physically destroyed or obliterated (except for the record held by FDLE) and is not available to anyone without a court order, even you.
Remember – you are only permitted to have one criminal history record sealed or expunged in your lifetime, so make your choice carefully.
If you have any additional questions contact our Community Outreach Division at 305-547-0724.