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Message from the State Attorney

Photo: Katherine Fernandez Rundle Headshot 2

Katherine Fernandez Rundle
State Attorney

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Dear Friend,

I have always believed that being your State Attorney carries with it the responsibility of upholding the trust the community has put in me and my office. To that end, I have always aimed to balance my office’s core values of enforcing the law while acting with fairness, integrity, and justice in our search for the truth.

At the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, we developed a system of “Smart Justice” that we strategically deliver to address offenders as individuals. We use an evidence-based outcome approach that

·       maximizes public safety,
·       provides opportunities for rehabilitation,
·       saves jail and prison space for the most dangerous offenders,
·       minimizes unintended collateral consequences,
·       and meets crime victims’ needs.

Our Smart Justice approach also allows us to extend our work far beyond the courthouse as we work with our community to build and strengthen relationships that enhance safety for all. Through my Community Outreach Division, I have organized monthly “Second Chance One-Stop” Sealing and Expungement Programs throughout the County. This program is intended to bring all the necessary parties and agencies together at one place, hence the “One-Stop”, to minimize the cost and the effort needed to seal and expunge a person’s criminal record. As Miami-Dade’s State Attorney, I have made it a priority to give individuals a second chance.

Our “Second Chance One-Stop” Sealing and Expungement Program is a partnership with the Public Defender’s Office, the Clerk of Courts, and the NAACP. Along with other key partners, including the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), we have helped over 6,000 people eliminate unnecessary barriers to success and prosperity.

In 2022, the Florida Legislature passed a law that makes it easier to seal and expunge juvenile arrests for non-violent offenses. This law goes into effect on July 1, 2022 and its importance cannot be overstated. This year’s legislation expands opportunities by allowing juvenile cases to be sealed or expunged without impacting the present “one case in a lifetime” limitation in the primary statute.

Many people, particularly young juveniles, do not realize that an arrest, even without a conviction, can have future adverse consequences. An arrest can impact your ability to pursue higher education, obtain employment or financing, and opportunity to find housing. While I created our program to help offset these often unforeseen results years ago, I appreciate having another important tool to use.

If someone is charged with certain crimes and the case did not result in a conviction, he or she may apply to have the case sealed and/or expunged under state law. The law contains certain limitations: some charges are ineligible, and people may obtain relief under this law only once. Effective October 1, 2019, cases that are dismissed may be sealed automatically.

To have a case sealed and/or expunged, an individual must complete an application package. Florida Statutes require that it be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for them to determine one’s eligibility. After that, the matter must go to court so the judge can order the case expunged. The legislatively mandated processing fee to FDLE is $75.

The “Second Chance One-Stop” Sealing and Expungement Program brings all the necessary parts of the process together at one spot to make the process easier and to help reduce the costs. When this process is done outside of a “Second Chance One-Stop” event, there may also be other costs associated with the application, including notary public, fingerprinting and Clerk of Court fees. Through our “Second Chance One-Stop” Program, we keep the total cost at $75.

The next State Attorney’s Office Sealing and Expungement Event will be held on Thursday, July 28, 2022 at the Joseph Caleb Center, 5400 NW 22nd Ave, Miami, 33142, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The doors will close at 7:00 p.m. Due to the time involved in the process, there is a limited capacity at the event. We advise you to register in advance. Please remember that a valid identification is required to complete the sealing and expungement process.

For more information about our Second Chance Program, please visit our website ( and click on the Community Outreach Division heading where pre-registration forms are available. To find out if you are eligible or if you wish to register in advance via telephone, please call my Community Outreach Division at (305) 547-0724.

Nothing seems more tragic than to have an opportunity to remove a roadblock that can limit one’s future life prospects, and not to take it. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and seize the day.
Stay safe, healthy, and strong.



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