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How to Get a Felony Off Your Record in Florida

A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Florida, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record.  Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take.  1) Expunge Your Record2) Seal Your Record,3) Request a Pardon of Your RecordThe problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what Florida offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.

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Expungement

If you get your record expunged in Florida it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.

Record Sealing

Sealing your record in Florida is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.

Pardons

If you receive a pardon in Florida, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.

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Things to Know Before You Start

First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in Florida.

Felony Expungement in Florida

Yes, it is possible to expunge your felony in Florida but it depends on the felony.

Sealing a Recordin Florida

Yes, it is possible to seal your record in Florida but it depends on the felony.

Getting a Pardonin Florida

Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in Florida but it depends on the felony.

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Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options.  The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.  

Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action.  We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process.  Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again.  In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think.  The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing of your record.

TAKE THE ELIGIBILITY TESTQuick NavigationCan You Expunge a Felony in Florida?How to Expunge a Felony in FloridaCan You Seal Your Criminal Record in Florida?How to Seal Your Criminal Record in FloridaCan You Apply for a Pardon in Florida?How to Apply for a Pardon in Florida

Can You Expunge a Felony in Florida?

There is a specific process to follow to seal your criminal record in Florida. Follow this checklist or go to for more information

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CANNOT EXPUNGE IF…

<p><strong>You have been convicted of a crime</strong></p><p>If you have ever been convicted of a crime, regardless of how long ago the conviction occurred or where</p><p>(There is the possibility that you may have been found guilty, but you were not convicted, or you were arrested, but the charges were dropped before the trial)</p><p>Out-of-state convictions will also make you ineligible</p><p><strong>You have had a prior record expunged</strong></p><p>If you have already been granted an expungement, you cannot legally obtain another</p>

How to Expunge a Felony in Florida

<p>Florida expungement law is designed to allow a person to expunge one criminal record if that record did not lead to conviction, and thereby reduce the chance that they will be discriminated against.</p><ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.</li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.</li><li>If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li></ol><p><strong>Steps to Expunge your record in Florida</strong></p><p>You can follow this link to the <a href=”http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/cms/Seal-and-Expunge-Process/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx”>FDLE website</a></p><p>Step 1. Obtain the State Attorney’s approval on your application for a certificate of eligibility (CoE);</p><p>Step 2. Submit the approved application for a CoE to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);</p><p>Step 3. Once the FDLE issues the CoE, submit that along with several other court filings to the clerk for the judge to sign;</p><ol start=”4″><li>There will be a hearing on the petition to expunge criminal history records (this step is not required in every instance and varies from county to county);</li></ol><ul><li>If you are called in for a hearing/interview, you must not only attend but also look and act your best. Dress in the same way you would if you were going to court for a trial (this means, a suit and tie).</li><li>If allowed, have friends, family members, your boss, neighbors, co-workers and others in your community come along to show their support. The hearing/interview is an excellent opportunity to put a human face onto your application; it lets the Board/Governor not only see you in person but also see the amount of support you have in your community.</li></ul><ol start=”5″><li>Have the signed order expunging the criminal history record sent to the relevant agencies and government departments who have a record of the criminal record (does not apply to civil records of the incident, such as those retained by the <a href=”http://www.flhsmv.gov/”>Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.</a>)</li></ol>

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Florida?

Sealing a Florida criminal record means that any law enforcement or judicial record of a single arrest/incident is sealed so it can only be accessed in very limited instances

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CANNOT SEAL IF…

<p><strong>You have been convicted of a crime</strong></p><p>If you have ever been convicted of a crime, regardless of how long ago the conviction occurred or where</p><p>(There is the possibility that you may have been found guilty, but you were not convicted, or you were arrested, but the charges were dropped before the trial)</p><p>Out-of-state convictions will also make you ineligible</p><p><strong>You have had a prior record expunged</strong></p><p>If you have already been granted an expungement, you cannot legally obtain another</p>

How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Florida

<ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to seal your record.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.</li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible to seal your record based on our test, then you should stop here.</li><li>If you are eligible to seal your record based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li></ol><p><strong>Steps to clear your record in Florida</strong></p><ol><li>Submit the application for a certificate of eligibility (CoE) to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE);</li><li>Once the FDLE issues the CoE, submit that along with several other court filings to the clerk for the judge to sign;</li><li>There will be a hearing on the petition to seal criminal history records (this step is not required in every instance and varies from county to county)</li></ol><ul><li>If you are called in for a hearing/interview, you must not only attend but also look and act your best. Dress in the same way you would if you were going to court for a trial (this means, a suit and tie).</li><li>If allowed, have friends, family members, your boss, neighbors, co-workers and others in your community come along to show their support. The hearing/interview is an excellent opportunity to put a human face onto your application; it lets the Board/Governor not only see you in person but also see the amount of support you have in your community.</li></ul><ol start=”4″><li>Have the signed order sealing the criminal history record sent to the relevant agencies and government departments who have a record of the criminal record.</li></ol>

Can You Apply for a Pardon in Florida?

In order for the Governor to grant a pardon, it must first be approved by at least 2 members of their cabinet. The Governor along with 3 members of his cabinet together make up the Clemency Board.

  Rules of Executive Clemency, Rule 4

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CANNOT PARDON IF…

<p><strong>10 years have not passed</strong></p><ul><li>You cannot apply for a pardon until at least 10 years have passed since you have completed your sentence, including any parole, probation, community control, control release, or conditional release</li></ul><p><strong>Outstanding monetary penalties or liabilities</strong></p><ul><li>If you have any outstanding monetary penalties or liabilities resulting from a criminal or traffic conviction which total more than $1,000.00, you cannot apply for a pardon</li></ul><p><strong>Restitution is still owed</strong></p><ul><li>If you still owe any victim restitution, whether from a criminal or civil case, you cannot apply for a pardon</li></ul><p><em>Note: You can ask for a waiver of any of these rules as long as 2 years have passed since you were first convicted and you do not currently owe any restitution. However, if you were sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence, you cannot ask for a waiver until you have served at least 1/3 of your sentence. Nevertheless, the Governor can waive these requirements as well if there is a “compelling need.”</em></p>

How to Apply for a Pardon in Florida

<p>Florida law says that if you receive a full pardon you are “entitled to the restoration of all the rights of citizenship” which you enjoyed before receiving the conviction. There are no fees to apply for a pardon in Florida.</p><ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record.  In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you. </li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible based on our test, then you should stop here. </li><li>If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li>The Clemency Board has conveniently created simple-to-use, self-explanatory application forms (including the waiver forms) which you can access on its website at <a href=”https://fpc.state.fl.us/ExecutiveClemencyForms.htm”>https://fpc.state.fl.us/ExecutiveClemencyForms.htm</a>.<p>If you cannot access the Clemency Board’s website or the forms themselves, contact the Clemency Board at 850-488-2952. You can also write to:</p><p>Office of Executive Clemency</p><p>2601 Blair Stone Road, Building C, Room 244</p><p>Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2450</p></li></ol><p><strong>Steps to petition for a felony pardon in Florida</strong></p><p>Step 1. There is a single form titled “Clemency Application Form 1501” which is used for all types of clemency (pardon, commutation, etc.).</p><ul><li>There is an accompanying instruction sheet which you should read before filling out this form.</li><li>The top of the form will simply ask you to check which type of clemency you would like to apply for (pardon, pardon without firearms, commutation of sentence, etc.).</li><li>You will be asked to list all of your convictions on the application form, you will also be asked to attach the charging instrument (information or indictment) for each conviction, as well as a certified copy of the judgment and sentence for each conviction.<ul><li>You can get these documents from the clerk’s office of the court where you were convicted.</li><li>If the court for some reason does not have the document you need, you need to ask the clerk to issue you an original letter stating why the document is not available (for example, “Case too old, record has been destroyed.”).</li><li>If you do not remember the details of a conviction or where it occurred, you will need to obtain a criminal report for yourself so that you can identify the court where you received that conviction.</li><li>For Florida offenses, you can access your criminal record through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at (850) 410-8109.</li><li>If you have convictions in other states, you can obtain a more comprehensive, nationwide criminal report from the FBI. You can find out how to do this by calling the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., at (202) 324-3000, or logging onto its website at <a href=”http://www.fbi.gov/”>http://www.fbi.gov</a>. The FBI’s website also has a list of local FBI offices you can call.</li><li>In the alternative, you can contact the criminal history record repository (which keeps a record of all criminal activity in a state) in each state where you have convictions. Listed on <a href=”http://www.pardon411.com/wiki/Criminal_History_Record_Repositories”>Criminal History Record Repositories</a> is a list of criminal history record repositories for all 50 states.</li></ul></li></ul><p>Step 2. You are strongly encouraged to submit written references or letters from church leaders, church members, teachers, friends, family, employers and/or co-workers who know you and can say good things about you to support you. It is better to choose individuals who are not related to you, to avoid the appearance of bias.</p><ul><li>The letters should tell the Board how the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you are deserving of a pardon.</li><li>The letters would have more credibility if they are notarized (signed in front of a notary public), although this is not required. A notary public can be found in most banks; they usually charge a small fee, depending on whether the person has an account with that bank.</li></ul><p>Step 3. Additionally, although not required, we highly suggest that you submit, on a separate sheet of paper, a detailed and genuine personal statement explaining why you need a pardon.</p><ul><li>Your personal statement should be detailed, honest, and grammatically well written.<ul><li>Simply saying “I want to have a clean record” is not enough.</li><li>Keep in mind that the Clemency Board/Governor will not be retrying you for the offense. Although you may want to explain the facts and circumstances of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt.<ul><li>Whatever you feel about the crime, you had already been found guilty. The Board/Governor is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.</li></ul></li><li>If it applies to you, explain how you have been passed over for employment opportunities because of your conviction. Explain how this has prevented you from obtaining decent employment to support you and/or your family.<ul><li>If you are pursuing a particular career or a license in a particular trade or profession that requires you to obtain a pardon, explain this and send documents, letters, or other types of proof from a prospective employer or licensing agency verifying this requirement. Perhaps explain what your plans are in the event you are granted a pardon.</li></ul></li><li>Also, if you are facing deportation because of the conviction, explain how being separated from you family will negatively affect you and your family.</li><li>In your personal statement you should detail all the positive things that have occurred in your life, like educational achievements, a new or steady job,, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable donations, awards and recognitions, etc.</li></ul></li></ul><p>Step 4. Your completed application form, along with all supporting documents and letters, should be sent to the Clemency Board’s office at the above address. Keep copies of everything you send for your records.</p><p>Step 5. Once the Clemency Board receives your application, it will notify any victims, the State Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor, and the Office of the Attorney General.</p><ul><li>The Clemency Board may also refer your application over to the Florida Parole Commission for an investigation.</li><li>You should fully cooperate with all document or interview requests by the Florida Parole Commission, including criminal and medical background checks.</li><li>You should be upfront and cooperative at all times.</li></ul><p>Step 6. After the investigation, the Clemency Board will meet to consider your application. You will be notified of your hearing.</p><ul><li>If you are called in for a hearing/interview, you are not required to attend, but it is strongly suggested that you only attend but also look and act your best. The hearing/interview is an excellent opportunity to put a human face onto your application; it lets the Board/Governor not only see you in person but also see the amount of support you have in your community.</li><li>Dress in the same way you would if you were going to court for a trial (this means, a suit and tie).</li><li>If you plan to speak at the hearing or wish to have friends, family members, your boss, neighbors, co-workers and others in your community come along to show their support, and speak on your behalf, you must let the Board know at least 10 days before the hearing.<ul><li>Keep in mind that each person who speaks at the hearing will only have a maximum of 5 minutes; each side (for or against your pardon) will only have a total of 10 minutes to speak.</li></ul></li></ul>

So, there you have it.  Three separate ways to get rid of your record in Florida.  As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.

Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational.  If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.

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This website was created by a few folks who have personally watched their loved ones struggle to get a job due to having a felony.

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