Friday, June 24, 2011

Sealing or Expunging records in Florida

I have had many people ask me what is the difference between sealing past criminal records, or expunging those records.

The basic difference is how the Clerk of the Court handles those files.  With Expungement, the criminal records are destroyed.  Therefore, they no longer exist in any form. When records are sealed, the records still exist in a physical form, but no one can look at the records without authorization from the court.

Details after the break...




So what would make the difference to someone trying to Seal/Expunge?  Not much at all!  Both technically have the same result for the client.

Do I really need an attorney to do this for me?

No.  You do not need an attorney, but it's not that easy.  The process requires filling out the application and getting the application authorized by the state prosecutor.  Obtaining a certified copy of the disposition of your case. Getting fingerprints completed.  The application goes to the FDLE for approval. If approved by the FDLE, you must file a Petition with the Court to Seal or Expunge. Confused yet?

Most attorneys are pretty reasonable about their rates for such a service. I charge a flat fee of $450 which includes the fees to the FDLE ($75).   I think that is a very reasonable price but attorneys in your area may be more.  I like to perform this service as a courtesy to my clients at a discounted rate.  As with most attorneys, court appearances, if required, cost additional.

For more information on sealing or expunging your criminal record, feel free to give me a call.  I will handle your case in the Tampa, Hillsborough County area, 813 413-5352 or Zonald@zonaldlaw.com.

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