The Florida Bar


December 12, 2022

Expungement is a court-ordered process where the legal record of an arrest or criminal conviction is “sealed” or erased. The availability and procedure of expungement varies according to the state or county in which the arrest and conviction occurred.

Are expunged records removed entirely?

Generally, an expungement will still be an accessible part of a person’s criminal record, and it is viewable by certain government agencies. For example, criminal courts may still access the record and immigration and deportation courts can view the record.

However, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear if an employer, school, or company conducts a background check.

Eligibility for expungement

Florida law does allow qualifying individuals to seal or expunge their criminal arrest records.

There are many factors which will determine if you’re eligible for expungement. Here are some of the top factors:

  • Jurisdiction
  • The nature and/or seriousness of the crime or charge
  • Whether you entered a guilty or no contest plea to an offense which is ineligible for expungement
  • The amount of time that has passed
  • Whether you’re currently under any type of probation, house arrest, or pretrial release
  • Your unique criminal history

It is important to note that not all states allow for expungement. For example, New York does not allow for the expungement of a criminal record at all.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.