Today’s blog entry focuses on dismissed or not guilty results.
On a daily basis I get Florida expunge and seal calls asking about public access to criminal cases that were ‘dropped’, dismissed or ‘nolle prosequi’. Usually a person is shocked when it is brought to their attention that an old case shows up on a criminal background check during an important job interview.
The bottom line is that the original charging document or ‘information’ starts the official record. Once the data is part of the clerk of court computer system it cannot be removed without a seal or expunction. This is true even if the charges eventually are dismissed or the defendant is found ‘not guilty’ at trial.
The logic behind the seal and expunction laws provides a person with a ‘second chance’ if they meet the requirements. The only real problem exists when a client has more than one case that is eligible. Unfortunately, one seal or expunction is possible. I counsel clients daily on making an informed decision regarding which case to ‘erase’. Contact me today to provide a free consultation. Let’s put your old case behind you for good! (954)608-1716
Video Blog on Topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhFaVncE-2g
Florida is one of the few states that has ‘seal’ and ‘expunction’ laws. The statutes clearly dictate eligibility for both forms of relief. To qualify for either, a person must not have successfully expunged or sealed another case in the state of Florida.
Historically, an expungement would order the clerk and state agencies to destroy all physical files related to the case. A ‘seal’ would have resulted in the file being unavailable to view without a court order. In modern times the actual file is not as important as the public databases that provide access to the arrest information and court documents. Therefore, the difference between a seal and expunge today is not as important since a signed ‘Order’, either seal or expunge, removes this information from official databases.
Eligibility for an expunction or sealing is determined by reviewing the exact charge and the final disposition. In general, most cases that were dismissed by the judge or a State Attorney ‘No Action’ can be filed under the expunction statute. If your case was ‘plead’ out or the judge ‘withheld the adjudication’ of guilt, it will normally fall under the seal statute.
Some exceptions do exist regarding eligibility. Some charges such as arson, aggravated battery, aggravated stalking and burglary of a dwelling cannot be sealed. This full list of ‘exceptions’ in the statute will only be qualified for a expungement (charges dismissed). Call me personally to review your case and the seal/expunction process today.
Video Blog on Topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxDjOFMom78
Isn’t it time to finally put an old criminal case behind you for good?
Background checks are now a standard procedure for employment, leasing an apartment and applying for state licensing. A 10 year old case that was dismissed can come back and haunt you.
Fortunately, Florida law gives us a legal remedy to permanently remove the case and documents from public view. A seal or expungement is a relatively simple process that can be successfully handled by my office. We help clients in every county with an affordable fee and direct access to us for any questions.
Why not make the effort and take control of your public persona by asking us about filing an expunction petition today.