I was arrested but the case never went to court. Is my Florida criminal record automatically removed?

Sometimes a person will be arrested, yet the case never actually goes to court either because the police do not forward the case to the State Attorney’s Office or because the State Attorney’s Office decides not to prosecute the case. When that situation arises, there is a procedure whereby an individual can request that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) administratively expunge the arrest record. This procedure differs from a typical expunction insofar as it is FDLE who expunges the record rather than a judge.

According to Florida Statute Section 943.0581, an adult, or a parent or legal guardian of a minor, can request that FDLE administratively expunge “any nonjudicial record of an arrest alleged to have been made contrary to law or by mistake,” provided that the following conditions are met:

  • The application “is supported by the endorsement of the head of the arresting agency or his or her designee or the state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the arrest occurred or his or her designee”;
  • The application “shall include the date and time of the arrest, the name of the person arrested, the offender-based tracking system number, and the crime or crimes charged”; and
  • The application “shall be on the submitting agency’s letterhead and shall be signed by the head of the submitting agency or his or her designee.”

Some people believe that their arrest record is automatically expunged if their case never goes to court. That is incorrect! In order to expunge your criminal record, you must follow certain established guidelines, some of which have been discussed in this article.