Experienced Orlando Expungement Lawyer Helps You Get a Fresh Start

Handling all aspects of Florida record sealing, expungement and related issues

If you have ever been arrested or charged with a criminal act, the chances are you have a record that can haunt you for life, limiting your ability to secure employment, education, financing, housing and other benefits and privileges. Fortunately, there are circumstances in which Florida allows criminal files to be sealed or expunged to that they are no longer accessible to the public. The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. in Orlando has wide experience helping people clean their records, giving them a fresh start.

Seasoned counsel explains Florida law on sealing and expungement

Florida law is particularly harsh when it comes to purging criminal records. Notably, criminal convictions can never be cleared, and a prior conviction — even one from out-of-state — can permanently bar you from having a Florida criminal record sealed or expunged.

Record sealing and expungement (known as expunction in Florida) are similar but they have distinctions:

  • Sealed records — When a record is sealed, it is no longer available to the public. It may not be disclosed to anyone else, including potential employers doing background checks. However, it still exists and is viewable by law enforcement and the courts.
  • Expunged records —Expungement means physical destruction of your record, so that even an accidental disclosure becomes impossible. Although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FLDE) retains a permanent copy, it is completely confidential.

Depending on your record, you may or may not have the ability to choose between these two alternatives. In some cases, your record might first be sealed and then expunged after 10 years, assuming you are not charged with any other crimes. Mr. Yates can help determine the availability of either remedy in your situation.

Am I eligible for record sealing or expungement in Florida?

You may be able to have your criminal record sealed if you were charged with a crime and any of these results occurred:

  • You were acquitted at trial.
  • The prosecutor declined to prosecute.
  • The court withheld adjudication.

Charges of certain crimes, as felonies and high-level misdemeanors, are declared ineligible for this relief. Furthermore, record sealing is a one-time remedy. You are not eligible if you have ever had your records sealed or expunged before.

Expungement of records for certain crimes is available in these situations:

  • You were arrested but not indicted or otherwise charged with a criminal offense.
  • Your indictment or other charge was declined by the prosecution or dismissed by the court.
  • You were acquitted by a judge or a verdict of not guilty was returned by a judge or jury.

As with sealing, expungement is a once-in-a-lifetime remedy. It is not available if you have ever had records sealed or expunged before.

Capable counsel assists in applications for certificates of eligibility

Your first step toward sealing or expungement is obtaining a certificate of eligibility (COE) from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Only then can you proceed in court. Applying for a COE is the most critical part of the process, since any mistake or omission may be fatal. Mr. Yates will thoroughly evaluate your case and prepare your COE application so that you have the best chance of winning the department’s approval.

Attorney advises on expungement of juvenile records

A record of involvement with the criminal justice system can be a particularly onerous burden for a young person trying to get his or her life on track. Juvenile records may be expunged by a court, by administrative process or in some cases by the successful completion of a diversionary program. The Law Offices of Mr. Yates provides effective representation for juveniles seeking a fresh start.

Talk to an experienced Florida attorney about expunction and record sealing

With 25 years of criminal practice experience, the Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. in Orlando is ready to help you confidently through the process of clearing your records. Please call 407-608-7777 or contact Mr. Yates online for a free consultation.


Mr. Yates is a past-President of the Orange County Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. He previously served as Chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 9th Judicial Circuit. 

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  • When I met Tad Yates, I was frantic, scared and misinformed about the legalities of my case. He quickly reassured me that everything was going to be alright and started at once preparing my defense. Every time I needed to speak with him, he was there to give advice and inform me the status of my case. As a result of his hard work, he managed to get my case dismissed and this blemish off my record. If you’re thinking of hiring or consulting with Mr. Yates, your in great hands.

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  • Tad is an excellent attorney. Due to a momentary lapse in judgement, I was put in a bad position and could not be more grateful that I hired Tad. From the moment I met Tad, I knew that I was in great hands! Tad explained to me all possible outcomes of the case and really helped put my mind at ease. In the end, I wound up with a very positive outcome and I owe it all to him. Tad was always available when I needed to speak with him and I couldn’t be happier that I hired him. Without the help and guidance of Tad, I’m not sure where I would be today. Tad is not only an amazing attorney, but an all-around great person!

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  • I do not have enough words to describe how amazing the experience with this attorney was. He works very hard to obtain the best results for his clients. I could not have asked for better services. I had exceptional fast results, I highly recommend this attorney. Thank you again, Tad Yates.

  • After consulting with several different highly recommended lawyers, I decided to hire Tad. It was a decision that would truly effect my life in a very profound way. Tad never promised results, he did however layout his experience and give me his word he would put all his effort into my case. I felt that was the honesty I deserved. He was sincere, honest, and reliable. Every time we attended court he seemed to hold a very good relationship with all the court's people. My case with Tad lasted about 9 months. There were many times I wanted to break down, not knowing what the results would ultimately be; however Tad always personalized my case and would constantly provide me with assurance of his efforts. He was always extremely accessible. This gave me a lot of peace. The results of my case ended up being extremely satisfying. I was looking at losing everything, for good. I now have my peace, my freedom, and I am currently very successful. Even after my case, Tad kept tabs with me and ensured I was doing as I should. There is a handful of people God put in my life of whom helped me get to the next level, there is no denying Tad is one of them.

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  • Tad came highly recommended. Set up a consultation and after meeting him, hired him immediately. Tad is extremely knowledgeable, efficient and truly cares. He was always available to speak and support during a very difficult situation. Although he has many clients, he always made us feel important and took the time necessary to ensure our questions were answered and that we were comfortable with strategy and next steps. He ultimately achieved the desired result and we are forever grateful.

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  • When I met Tad Yates, I was frantic, scared and misinformed about the legalities of my case. He quickly reassured me that everything was going to be alright and started at once preparing my defense. Every time I needed to speak with him, he was there to give advice and inform me the status of my case. As a result of his hard work, he managed to get my case dismissed and this blemish off my record. If you’re thinking of hiring or consulting with Mr. Yates, your in great hands.- A.

    I was referred to Tad by a friend of the family. They told me what he did for them and assured me that he would do the same for me. He exceeded my expectations from start to finish. He used his knowledge of the law, professionalism and relationship skills to have my case completely dropped. No plea deals what so ever. He never once doubted me however he did explain exactly what we had to overcome. If you find yourself in a situation that could impact you for the rest of your life, whether you did anything wrong or not I would encourage you to give him a call.

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Ratings & Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0

    Tad and Kathy are wonderful. They've helped me tremendously and I cannot thank them enough. Best lawyer in Orlando.

    — Brenden McDaniels

  • 5.0/5.0

    Tad yates is an amazing person and lawyer! He helped me and my family so much and i couldn't be more thankful! I have never met such a caring, kind, focused, genuine soul actually trying to get justice and fight for you and your freedom and...
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    — Lizzie Haniff

  • 5.0/5.0

    I've know Tad Yates since 2002 and he is a top notch Criminal Defense attorney. This is the guy I would call if my kids or mom got in trouble. A UF Gator and a well respected member of the the Central Florida bar. His office manager is a...
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    — Jay Anthony

  • 5.0/5.0

    Will always Fight for you. He is straight up and honest

    — Barb Starling

  • 5.0/5.0

    Mr. Yates is one of our community's most experienced and respected attorneys. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking help with their legal matter.

    — Thomas Feiter