Criminal Charges You Can (and Should) Get Expunged from Your Record in Florida
A criminal charge can negatively affect your life in more ways than one. Having a stain on your record could stop you from buying or renting a house, and getting a new job might be difficult as employers will likely perform a background check before hiring you.
A single mistake, whether it was committed by yourself or by the people who accused and charged you, shouldn’t ruin your career and diminish your enjoyment of life. If you managed to turn your life around, you deserve the chance to forget about the past. Fortunately, Florida laws are aware of this situation and allow you to request an expungement of your record.
The Meaning of Expungement
Before proceeding, it would be a good idea to understand what this term means. When your record is expunged, it means that all the documents which contained detailed information about the crimes you were accused of are destroyed and can’t be accessed anymore, not even by landlords or future employers.
Another process that’s very similar to this one is referred to as sealing. The only difference in this case is that physical copies of your record won’t be destroyed, but will be preserved, and made inaccessible to the public as they’ll be considered confidential. Keep in mind that courts and government agencies can still see your record if they wish to do so.
A crime committed by a minor is handled differently by a court of justice, as minors are seen as individuals who possess a higher chance of rehabilitation when compared to adults. A criminal charge received while you were still a teen shouldn’t compromise the rest of your life, and that’s why you should ask for an expungement as soon as possible.
You may be asked to complete a diversion program before the government gives you the chance to put your life on the correct path. In certain cases, juvenile records can also be automatically expunged when specific requirements are met. Don’t forget that even in this scenario, asking for the expungement of a felony is not possible, as you threatened to use or used force against another individual.
Dropped or Dismissed Charges
The majority of people who are wrongly accused or arrested fail to notice that dropped or dismissed charges still have an impact on their criminal record, as a physical copy of it will be created where the alleged crime is described. This may raise suspicion and create problems just like a normal conviction would.
It’s a mistake to assume that your record will automatically be expunged as soon as you’re considered not guilty, so remember to proceed as you would for any other crime that is eligible for expungement, or you may be the victim of prejudice without even realizing it. Remember that even if you were arrested but not convicted, you still need to qualify and meet prerequisites to have your record expunged.
Almost all nonviolent crimes can be expunged, especially if you were not responsible for someone else’s injuries and didn’t cause a significant amount of damage to another person’s property with the use of force. Keep in mind that threats are considered an intention to use force, and could render you unable to ask for expungement.
DUI charges are not easy to deal with, and if you don’t act immediately after getting arrested, you may be convicted and accused of a greater offense, which will prohibit you from asking to get your record expunged. With the help of a qualified attorney, you may even be able to get your charges dismissed.
Victims of human trafficking are forced to act against their will and are coerced into committing crimes. Your future should not be decided by someone else’s decisions, and that’s why Florida law allows you to clean your criminal record when you’re a victim of human trafficking.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Dealing with the legal system can be difficult, especially when you want to get your record expunged or sealed. You may be unsure on how to proceed, and your request could be denied because you were not aware of all the legal intricacies that can influence this process.
But you don’t have to let the consequences of your past haunt you. At Hersem Law, we know how to deal with difficult situations and will do everything possible to give you the answers you need. Call 813-251-7291 to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer or fill out our online contact form.