Wesley T. Dunaway, P.A.

Criminal Record Seal / Expunge / Restoration of Civil Rights


Having a criminal history can bear real consequences when you’re looking for a job or applying to schools. Even a minor incident that occurred years ago can negatively affect your reputation. Explaining the circumstances of an arrest or conviction can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, Florida has processes for sealing and expunging criminal history reports. I believe in second chances, and I can help you eliminate the undeserved stigma of an old arrest or conviction.

Eligibility for having your criminal history record sealed is governed by § 943.059, Fla. Stat. You may be ineligible if your conviction involves certain violent crimes, sex crimes, or drug trafficking. In general, you are only entitled to have a criminal history record sealed once in your lifetime.

Unlike many states, Florida does not automatically restore convicted felons’ rights. Under Florida law, a convicted felon may not vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office until civil rights have been restored.

Depending on the circumstances of your conviction, having your civil rights restored may or may not involve a court hearing before a judge.

Even after restoration of civil rights, convicted felons are not eligible to own or possess firearms. The state has a separate process for applying for firearm authority. The rules require that you must have completed all sentences imposed and all conditions of supervision have expired or been completed, for at least 8 years. This form of clemency requires an in-depth hearing with an Examiner of the Florida Parole Commission.

We can help you decide which process is appropriate in your case: sealing, expunging, or civil rights restoration. We’ll use our experience to make sure that your case is handled without unnecessary delays. If a hearing is needed, we will work with you to maximize your chances for reclaiming your rights and your reputation.

Wes Dunaway, Esq.

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