In the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit
in and for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties, Florida
Administrative Order No.: 2022–12.3
Expunction or Sealing of Criminal
Sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes, provide for the expunction or sealing of criminal cases under the criteria set forth in those statutory provisions as well as in Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.692. Section 943.0583, Florida Statutes provides for the expunction process for victims of human trafficking and is governed by different statutory criteria.
Pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.692, the relief sought under sections 943.0585 and 943.059, Florida Statutes shall be made by written petition, filed with the Clerk. Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.525 provides that, unless excepted, all documents that are court records must be filed by electronic transmission. Such documents filed electronically are deemed the originals.
In order for the Clerk of Court to remove any documents recorded in the Official Records, the specific document must be identified by instrument number in the expunction or sealing order before removal.
Although the filing fee is fixed pursuant to section 28.24(26), Florida Statutes, there are other costs associated with the sealing or expunction of a criminal case that are variable, requiring payment before a case is sealed or expunged.
By the power vested in the chief judge under Article V, section 2(d) of the Florida Constitution; Section 43.26, Florida Statutes, and Rule 2.215(b), Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, it is therefore ordered and adjudged as follows:
- All petitions to expunge or seal criminal records will be filed in the division in which the underlying criminal case was last pending.
- All petitions to expunge or seal, accompanying affidavits, and certificates shall be submitted electronically through the Portal.
- Upon the filing of the petition to seal or expunge, the Clerk shall have five (5) business days to review the case for any unpaid court-related fees, charges, restitution and costs.
- All costs associated with the sealing or expunction of a case, including any outstanding monies on a case, must be paid before the Clerk is authorized to seal the case.
- If financial obligations remain outstanding, the Clerk shall contact the judicial assistant of the assigned judge, who shall then notify the state attorney and/or party that there are court-related fees, charges, restitution, and costs that remain outstanding.
- When all financial obligations are satisfied, the Clerk shall issue a Certificate of Compliance with Financial Obligations which is docketed into the case.
- The Petitioner shall bear all costs of certified copies, unless indigent, including any additional certified copies that may be requested.
- Any order sealing or expunging a criminal case shall include language providing:
- That all costs associated with the sealing or expunging of the case were paid, specifically identifying the docket identification number (DIN) for the Clerk’s Certificate of Compliance; and
- That any petition filed pursuant to s. 943.059, F.S. or s. 943.0585, F.S., is accompanied by a valid Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Department of Law Enforcement and specifically identifying the Certificate by the accompanying DIN.
- Any petition and subsequent order sealing or expunging a case shall identify any recorded documents to be removed from the Official Records by instrument number. If no such recorded documents are to be removed, the petition and order shall specify same. Only identified recorded documents will be removed from the County’s Official Records.
- The Clerk is authorized to open any sealed or expunged court file for the purpose of filing documents pertinent to the particular file, as well as for imaging.
- This Administrative Order does not apply to petitions for expunction pursuant to section 943.0583, Florida Statutes, relating to the expungement of criminal history records of victims of human trafficking.
- This Administrative Order is effective immediately.
Done and ordered in chambers in Sarasota County, Florida, this 31st day of August, 2022.
Charles E. Roberts
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