Articles Posted in Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records

Jacksonville Criminal Attorney

  1. I was charged with Aggravated Battery/ Domestic Battery, could I have this charged Sealed or Expunged?

The answer to this inquiry depends upon several factors. These factors include: 1. How was the case adjudicated? 2. What does Florida Statutes state? And 3. Have you had a Florida Criminal record Sealed/Expunged before? The answer to these few questions will determine the possibility of sealing or expunging that Florida Criminal Record.

A Florida criminal record may be sealed pursuant to Florida Statute § 943.0585. In addition to the requirements listed in the Statute above, Florida Statute § 907.041 provides a list of crimes that cannot be sealed. However, if the charges were dropped, then, you could be eligible to expunge your record. The enumerated list of crimes do not apply when petitioning to have your record expunged. If the charges were dropped, the FDLE will not reject a Florida Criminal Defendant’s application for a certificate of eligibility, assuming all other necessary conditions are fulfilled. However, if the original offense was a violent crime or was a sexual offense, it will be more difficult to have the petition to expunge granted. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared for a hearing and hire a Criminal Record Expunging Attorney. Finally, Florida law only allows one criminal arrest to be sealed or expunged. Therefore, if you have had a record sealed or expunged before, you are not eligible to have another record sealed or expunged.

Jacksonville Criminal Defense LawyerWhether you are a Florida resident or simply visiting the area for summer vacation, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with two of the most commonly charged criminal offenses in the state.

The following article will help you better understand what these crimes entail, the penalties associated with them, and the ramifications of been charged with them.

Drug Offenses

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyJacksonville Arrests occur all the time and when you caught off guard and arrested by the Jacksonville Police, you may not know what to do or say. That is where the advice and counsel of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer could prove to be invaluable. In Jacksonville, first appearance court (also known as bond hearing), most Criminal Defendants will not be represented by a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer. This can prove to be a mistake if the Defendant has a record or the offenses are serious. They could be denied bail and remain in jail until their court date.

Under Florida law, a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant is entitled to appear before a judge within 24 hours of his arrest. Due to this Florida law, Duval County first appearance court is held twice a day, every day.

I have seen many Jacksonville Criminal Defendants stand before a judge without representation. Although there is a Jacksonville Public Defender present in the room, this is only one Defense Lawyer to represent all the Jacksonville Criminal Defendants for day. It is not possible for a Criminal Attorney to zealously and adequately represent that many Jacksonville Criminal Defendants at one time.

Jacksonville Record Seal/Expunge AttorneyAre you a Florida Resident located in St. Augustine, Duval, Orange Park, St. Johns county, Clay county, or the surrounding area? Have you applied for jobs or specialized licenses? Has your application been rejected because of a questionable criminal history? If so, a Jacksonville Record Seal/Expunge Attorney may be able to help! As a Jacksonville Attorney I can review your Florida Criminal History and make the initial determination as to whether or not you are eligible to have your record expunged.

In order to be eligible to have your Criminal Record Expunged, you must have not been convicted of any criminal offense, or had the charges brought against you dropped, or your current Criminal Record has been sealed for 10 years. These requirements and more are outlined in Florida Statute § 943.0585. Under this Statute, the person requesting a record expunction, must provide the court with a valid certificate of eligibility AND a sworn statement attesting to the following:

  • Never been adjudicated guilty;
  • Never been adjudicated guilty of any act stemming from the arrest pertaining to this request;
  • Never received a record expunction or seal before; AND
  • To their best knowledge or belief does not have any other petitions before the court.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I handle all types of criminal cases and strive to deliver the best possible outcome for my clients. In dealing with Criminal Law issues, I also handle Florida Record Seal, Expunge matters. This allows me to provide my clients assistance after the judicial system has taken place.

To be eligible for a Florida Record Seal, Expunge you must meet several statutorily defined criteria. All these criteria can be explained by me during our initial FREE consultation. However, recently I have received a large number of calls regarding past Criminal charges and their potential to be Sealed or Expunged. Let me Clarify one point, IF you have ever been CONVICTED of any Criminal Offense, you are NOT eligible for a record Seal or Expunge of ANY of your Florida Criminal Offenses.

Therefore, if your Florida Criminal History shows a CONVICTION, you are not applicable. However, if the charges were DROPPED or adjudication was WITHHELD, you could still potentially have your Florida Record Sealed, Expunge.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyIf a person goes through the yellow pages or searches the internet, one could be overwhelmed with the amount of Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys available in Jacksonville, Florida. However, selecting an attorney is not an easy process. Often, people will ask whether or not they should hire a private attorney or use a public defender. My response is always “if you can afford a private attorney, you should hire one.”

First, the services of the office of the public defender in Jacksonville are only for those clients that cannot afford an attorney. A public defender is not appointed to everyone that wants an attorney, just for those that do not have funds available to hire a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney.

Second, a Jacksonville criminal defendant cannot chose which attorney at the public defender’s Office will represent them. Therefore, if one is unhappy with their public defender, they cannot “shop around” and request another attorney be appointed. There are different types of attorneys at the public defender office and in private practice. Some attorneys are better than others. When you hire a Jacksonville criminal attorney, you have the option of meeting with the attorney and choosing which attorney better suits your needs.

Jacksonville Criminal LawyerWe all make mistakes, bad judgment calls, and are influenced by our peers. However, some these not so good decisions can result in Jacksonville Criminal Charges. When this happens you could be facing serious penalties for your actions. However, with the guidance and assistance of a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney they can fight the state and work to get you the best possible outcome of your case. Ultimately, you want the charges dropped but that is not always a viable option when negotiating with the State. However, if you Adjudication Withheld, you are in a position to have your record sealed.

Now that you have moved on from your Withhold of your Jacksonville Criminal Charge, do you have to disclose this information to potential employers? I get asked this question all the time. Clients are applying for a job and want to know how to answer the question, “Have you ever been convicted of felony?” The correct answer for this question is NO. If you received a Withhold for your Jacksonville Criminal Charge, you were never CONVICTED, therefore the correct answer to that question is NO.

However, just because adjudication was Withheld, does not mean it will not appear on a background check. Therefore, you are in a position in whether to tell an employer first or to wait for the employer to ask; if at all. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer to this question. Sometimes its better to take the proactive step and notify them ahead of time and explain the situation. But, that can lead to quick judgments. In contrast, if you wait, they may look at it as you are trying to hide something. So, one just has to feel their way through the process and determine what is the best plan of action for their individual case.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThe short answer is, “it depends.” I know that is the cliché Attorney answer to every legal question you may present to a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney. However, my experience in dealing with expunging a Florida Criminal Record, it really depends upon each individual’s personal situation. More importantly, there are statutory guidelines and requirements that must be met before a Florida Record Expunction can even begin.

These requirements and guidelines are listed under Florida Statutes § 943.0585 and § 907.041. Some specifics of the statute are: the applicant has never been adjudicated guilty, never been adjudicated guilty of any act stemming from the arrest pertaining to this request, never received a record seal or expunction. Furthermore, under § 907.041, Florida lists certain criminal offenses that are not eligible for record expunctions. For instance, most aggravated offenses, Sex Crimes, Crimes against Children, etc.

This is just a brief summary of the statutory provisions required for a Florida Record Expunction. As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, I can review your specific circumstances and determine if a record Expunction is possible. From that point, I can work with you to assist and represent you throughout the process.

Jacksonville Expungement AttorneyI am applying for a job and they stated I have a Florida Criminal Conviction. But, I had a Withhold of Adjudication for that Florida Criminal Offense. I thought a Withhold was different from a Conviction! What can I do? -If these previous statements sound familiar you may in the same position as many of my previous clients. However, do not worry as a Jacksonville Expungement Attorney I may be able to assist you in clearing up your Florida Criminal Record.

In this unfortunate event your employer has decided not to take into consideration the difference between adjudication withheld and a conviction. However, the differences are great. A conviction for a Florida Criminal Offense means you are no longer applicable to apply for a Florida record Expunge or Seal. It also means when you are applying for a job you MUST inform the employer when the question asks, “if you have ever been convicted…” In contrast, a Withhold means you were never convicted. Therefore you can truthfully state you have never been convicted of a Florida Criminal Offense.

However, some employers (especially in this tough economy) are just looking for a reason to choose another applicant. That is where a Florida Record Seal may prove to be invaluable in your future. Therefore, if you have a Criminal History that is not perfect, contact a Jacksonville Expungement Attorney to discuss your circumstances and determine what is the best approach in moving forward.

BinocularsAs a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer I have been approached on numerous occasions by clients with not so perfect Florida Criminal Histories. However, these blemishes on their records does not necessarily make them bad people, we all make mistakes and some mistake deserve to be erased. That is why I offer my current clients and potential clients who have Florida Criminal Histories the opportunity to have their Florida Criminal History Sealed or Expunged. With that being said, the number one question I address with my Florida Record Seal/Expunge Clients is “Who can see my Florida Criminal History after it has been Sealed or Expunged?

For the most part the answer is “no one.” However there are a few exceptions to that general answer. According to Florida Statutes, the following are exceptions and can see your Florida Criminal History even after it has been Sealed or Expunged.

  1. A criminal justice agency, state law enforcement agency, or federal law enforcement agency. For example, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the FBI will still be able to access your Sealed or Expunged Florida Criminal History. Additionally, if you are seeking employment with any of these agencies, you will have to notify them of your sealed or expunged record and in some cases have the record unsealed.
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