How to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged in Florida

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Experienced Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Hayslett, of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. Explains the Expungement Process

Attorney Kevin Hayslett

Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin Hayslett

Laws regarding the alteration of public documents vary significantly from state to state, and Florida regulations allow more options than many other jurisdictions.

Sometimes it can be difficult to leave the past behind you, especially if there is a public record of an incident you were involved in and the judicial system has become involved. In the state of Florida, there are legal options for requesting that your records be sealed or expunged.

“Laws regarding the alteration of public documents vary significantly from state to state, and Florida regulations allow more options than many other jurisdictions,” said criminal defense attorney Kevin Hayslett of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. “Florida law permits individuals who were never convicted of certain offenses to request that their records be sealed and, later, expunged. Adults who have been convicted, however, cannot have their records sealed or expunged.”

Sealing a record serves to conceal the case information from the purview of others. Expungement is a process by which public records are completely destroyed; once a record is expunged, it is as if the incident never happened. Records are initially sealed and then can be expunged after 10 years. Florida will not seal more than one record and sealing is prohibited or various serious offenses, including homicide, terrorism, sexual crimes against minors, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping and arson.

Florida automatically expunges juvenile infractions at the age of 23 or 25, depending upon the individual’s criminal history and the nature of the offenses,” said attorney Hayslett. “In addition, juveniles can petition the court for sealing if the charges were dismissed or if the juvenile successfully completed a diversion program,”

While sealing a record provides protection in most situations, Florida law does allow access to sealed records for those individuals seeking employment in law enforcement or the judicial system. These records are also available when an individual attempts to purchase a firearm, or gain employment with an organization that serves children or the elderly.

For more information regarding the process of sealing and expungement in Florida, contact leading Tampa Bay criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. Located in Clearwater, Florida, Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. has been serving the Tampa Bay area community since 1971. Innovative practice and proven litigation skills make the firm Tampa Bay’s premier legal team, with a proven track record of success and a reputation for excellence. For more information, visit the firm website at or contact the office directly at 877-728-9653.

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Mary Ann Bounacos
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