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Florida Bar Character and Fitness Information Resources

Finding Sealed and Expunged Records

By Florida Statute, applicants to the Florida Bar are exempted from non-disclosure of sealed or expunged criminal records. 

§ 943.059(4)(a), Fla. Stat. applies to sealed records.

§ 943.0585(4)(a), Fla. Stat. applies to expunged records. Both state in sub-paragraph (4)(a)(4):

(a) The person who is the subject of a criminal history record that is expunged (or sealed) under this section or under other provisions of law, including former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, and former s. 943.058, may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:

. . . 

4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;..." (emphasis supplied).

Therefore, when applying to the Florida Bar you must disclose your entire criminal record, including sealed and expunged records. See page 14 of the Florida Bar Admissions Process guide.

The process gets tricky when you cannot remember if you had a criminal record sealed or expunged because those records will not show on the public face of a records search.

In this case, you may want to pay for a thorough criminal histories record search from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). A detailed history will provide you as a statutorily authorized party, information regarding sealed records. From this information, you can then request records to be unsealed as needed for proper reporting to the Florida Bar. 

Expunged records should have been destroyed and will not be available.

NOTE: The Florida Bar is also an authorized party for records request purposes (see statutes above).

Sealed and expunged records FAQ's (FDLE)