Second Chance: Sealing and Expungement

I have always believed in second chances. As the Miami-Dade State Attorney, I have committed my office to finding ways to make that happen. Through my Community Outreach Division (COD), I have organized the “Second Chance One-Stop” Sealing and Expungement Program. This program is intended to bring all the necessary parties together at one place, hence the “One-Stop,” to minimize the cost and the effort needed to seal and expunge one’s record. If someone was charged with a crime in Miami-Dade County and the case did not result in a conviction, that single record may be eligible for sealing or expungement. Only state criminal cases (not any Federal cases) that occurred in Miami-Dade County can be reviewed under this program.

What does it mean to have a criminal case expunged?
Under some specific circumstances, the Florida Statutes allow you to have the record of a closed case expunged (removed from your criminal history) if the case was dropped. When a case is expunged from your criminal history, it is as if all the physical files had actually been destroyed. Even the existence of the original case file will not be acknowledged. A court order from a judge is needed to receive information on cases that have been expunged. After the record is expunged, you can lawfully deny the arrest to certain employers or agencies. However, governmental agencies (including the Immigration and Naturalization Service), Florida Bar Association, law enforcement agencies, school boards and health administrations will always have access to the original arrest information. To qualify for expungement, you must complete an application package. Florida Statutes require that it be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for them to determine your eligibility and then you must go to court so the judge can order the case expunged.

The processing fee to FDLE is $75. The Second Chance One-Stop Sealing and Expungement Program brings all of the necessary parts of the process together at one spot to make the process easier and to help reduce the cost. When this process is done outside of the “Second Chance One-Stop” there may also be other costs associated with the application, including notary public, fingerprinting and Clerk of Court fees. The total cost can range up to $150 to $200.

How many cases am I allowed to seal or expunge at the same time?
A person is entitled to expunge or seal only one case in your lifetime but one case may include more than one charge.

When is the next “Sealing and Expungement” event?
The next State Attorney’s Office Sealing and Expungement Event will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at the Joe Celestin Center, 1525 NW 135th Street, North Miami, 33167, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The doors will close at 7:00 p.m. There is a limited capacity at the event due to the time involved in the process, so it is advised that you register in advance. ID is required.
Am I Eligible?

To find out if you are eligible to have your record sealed or expunged or to register in advance, you should call the Community Outreach Division of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office at 305-547-0724.

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