Florida Juvenile Record Sealing FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Florida Juvenile Record Sealing service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.



What can I do about my Florida juvenile charges?

For juvenile offenses, Florida has three avenues for expungement. The first way is an automatic expungement, pursuant to Section 943.0515, of a juvenile record, at age 24 or 26, depending on prior history and arrest or conviction as an adult.

The second way calls for action when the juvenile was arrested “contrary to law or mistake” pursuant to Section 943.0581.

The third way is expunction by petition of some misdemeanors after successful completion of completed a pre-arrest, post-arrest, or teen court diversion program under Section 943.0582. An application for a juvenile diversion expunction must be filed within six months of completing the diversion program. After that time, the individual would have to apply for a regular sealing or expungement.

Once your record is expunged, your record appears as though the charge never existed.

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Why would I want to expunge my juvenile record?

Once your record is expunged, your record will appear as though the charge never existed, which will ensure that no record of the case will appear on a background check which could hinder future employment opportunities.

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Will my juvenile record still show up on my background check?

No. Your records are sealed so that the public cannot view the case. (F.S. 943.0582(2)(a)(2); F.S. 943.045(19)).

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Can my juvenile record still be used against me for a future conviction?

Yes, your juvenile record can be used as a part of a criminal investigation. (F.S. 943.0582(2)(a)(1)).

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Do I ever have to disclose my juvenile record?

Yes, but only in limited situations. You must disclose the juvenile adjudication when you are a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency. For all other purposes, a person whose record is expunged under this section may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest and the charge covered by the expunged record. (F.S. 943.0582(2)(a)(1)).

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Why do I have a criminal history record when the charges against me were dropped/dismissed?

A criminal history record is created when a person is arrested and fingerprinted, and includes the disposition of that arrest, whether the disposition is a conviction, acquittal, dismissal of charges before trial, or other disposition.

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Can I become a schoolteacher, nurse, or other occupation?

You can truthfully say you were not convicted to any question for employment other than for employment with a criminal justice agency.

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What if I want to work in a bank?

Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.

"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.

Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.

If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.

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What if I join the military?

If you want to join the US military, then your record becomes a matter of federal law, not Florida state law. All branches of the military will want to know about your juvenile offenses, even if they have been expunged. There is still a risk of being discharged from the military if you don’t tell them and they find out about your record later. You should always disclose your conviction, but also mention that your case was taken before a judge and was deemed in the interest of justice to expunge/seal the record from public view.

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What if I want to become a police officer?

You must disclose the juvenile adjudication when you are a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency. (F.S. 943.0582(2)(a)(1)).

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What if the new job wants to call the court or my probation officer?

Your probation officer and the court are required to say that they have no record of your arrest. (F.S. 943.0582(2)(a)(1); F.S. 943.045(19)).

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Do I need to hire an attorney or can I do it myself?

You have an attorney to (1) make sure the process is done right the first time so your case does not get rejected or cost you months of delay, (2) handle objections from the district attorney, (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be, and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the juvenile adjudication off of your record.

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Do I have to go to court?

No, we go for you. If the court requests your presence and you are unable to attend,then we will request for your presence to be excused.

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How does the attorney know the details about my case?

Once you sign up, we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail that you provide in your answers the better we are able to argue the case in your favor.

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How long does the process take?

Typically, the process takes nine to twelve months (Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties are taking twelve months) to seal or expunge a criminal record in Florida. The long wait is due to the State's Attorney and Florida Dept of Law Enforcement having to review the file. The time frame is mostly determined by the FDLE and State's Attorney because they take a great deal of time to review the petition and petitioner's criminal history. Some cases, however, can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and DA in anything they need to get your case heard.

Additionally, if you have another case, we may have to obtain documents from the other case to demonstrate that you were not convicted. Adding another case may add around a month to the process in order to obtain the additional documentation from the other case. If time is a concern for you, then you can supply the case documents if you have them to our office so that we do not have to wait for the court to supply them.

The courts operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you start, the sooner your record is cleared.

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Can the process be done faster?

The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner your case is heard and decided. If helpful, we will gladly write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it expunged.

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How do I know what is going on with my case?

We have an online tracking system that is just for your case(s). You will have a user name and password for the account, which will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case, we post the information in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account, then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the court, a case can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or District Attorney whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court, we will call to obtain the status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.

Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print the necessary content.

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Do you have a money back guarantee?

We are unable to offer a money-back guarantee because the process involves a substantial amount of preparation and sometimes several appearances in court by our attorneys. We cannot afford to offer this low of a price and a money-back guarantee.

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Do you have payment plans?

We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing for details regarding the payment plans.

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What if I don’t know exactly what is on my record?

We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee, which we apply to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.

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Does it matter if I pled guilty or no contest?

No, it does not matter. We can expunge your adjudication regardless of what you pled.

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What is the main reason that a request to expunge is denied?

If it is denied, it is usually because of (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe it will be in the interest of society, (4) probation violation or (5) fines were not fully paid.

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Does my disposition of guilty or no contest matter?

If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that refiling would be successful, then we may recommend the person wait longer to refile.

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Will FDLE notify the agencies involved with my case that the record has been sealed or expunged?

Once an order has been issued by the court to expunge your criminal history record they will send the order to the FDLE to expunge the records. Once FDLE expunges the criminal history record, a notification letter will be sent by FDLE to the arresting agency or agencies involved with your case. The notification letter is to inform the agencies that FDLE has received and has complied with the order.

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Can I expunge or seal a later adult conviction if I have the juvenile case expunged?

Yes, a juvenile expungement under Florida statute 943.0582 does not make the adult case ineligible. (F.S. 943.0582(6))

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Does the arresting agency or state attorney have to agree?

For an administrative expunction of an arrest alleged to have been made contrary to law or by mistake, the arresting agency or the state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the arrest occurred must agree to the expunction. (F.S. 943.0581(3)).

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What happens if one is convicted of a forcible felony after the age of 18 and has yet to expunge anything from the juvenile record?

If the minor is charged or convicted of a forcible felony after reaching the age of 18, the person’s record as a minor will be merged with the person’s adult record if the minor’s record has not been destroyed. (F.S. 943.0515(2)(a)).

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Can I seal my traffic and parking violations?

Only felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses are eligible for sealing/expungement. (F.S. 943.0585; F.S. 943.059; F.S. 943.0582).

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Can anyone access my juvenile record once I have gone through the process of sealing it?

Yes, but only in limited situations. The criminal history record of a person whose record is expunged after successful completion of completed a pre-arrest, post-arrest, or teen court diversion program shall be made available only to criminal justice agencies for the purpose of determining eligibility for pre-arrest, post-arrest, or teen court diversion programs or when the record is sought as part of a criminal investigation. (F.S. 943.0582(2)(a)(1)).

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Will expungement clean up my DMV record?

Expungement does not affect your DMV records. (F.S. 322.20; Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Rigau, 901 So. 2d 339 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2005))

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Will my record prohibit me from visiting Canada?

If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you may be prohibited from entrance into Canada and further action will be required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States, so the Canadian government will have whatever information the United States has on file. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of setting aside will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and no longer considered a conviction and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.

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Can I get a Sentri pass?

The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So, the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; investing in record clearing before applying for a pass would be advantageous. A modest investment in getting a set aside could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. The set aside will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.

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Can I vote after the record sealing?

If you are eligible for your expungement, then your civil rights were not taken.

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Will a record sealing help with immigration?

Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, getting a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts is imperative. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case, contacting a qualified immigration attorney is vital. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.

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Can I clear my federal conviction?

You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.

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Will record sealing restore my right to own a firearm?

If you are eligible for expungement, then your gun rights were not taken away and you can currently own or possess a gun. (F.S. 790.23).

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Who can serve on a jury in Florida?

In Florida, you may serve on a jury if you: (1) are a United States citizen, (2) are a legal resident of Florida, (3) are a legal resident in the county in which the court resides, (4) are at least eighteen years of age, (5) and are an owner of a valid Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card. Title V, Chapter 40.01

In addition, you must not be under prosecution for any crime, and you may not be convicted in this state, territory, or country of bribery, forgery, perjury, larceny, or any other offense that, had the crime been committed in the state, would be a felony. If you have had your civil rights restored to you, then you may serve on a jury. Title V, Chapter 40.013

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Can I vote after the record sealing?

If you are eligible for an expungement, then your civil rights were not taken. (F.S. 944.292)

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The first step towards a better life begins with finding out if you are eligible for Florida Juvenile Record Sealing.



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Call us at 561-515-1276 or Toll Free (877) 573-7273
Please take the free online eligibility test before calling.

Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
301 Clematis Street Suite 3000
W. Palm Beach, FL 33401
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