Have you ever been arrested for a crime that you didn’t commit? Or perhaps you made a mistake in your youth that doesn’t reflect who you are today. Either way, criminal accusations can often prevent you from accomplishing what you want in life. Whether it is getting the job that you want, or completing your education, a record of arrest can stand in your way. That is why the State of Florida has made it possible for you to have your arrest record sealed or expunged.
At this point, you may be wondering, “do I qualify to have my record sealed or possibly even expunged?” At Makofka & Makofka, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you determine whether or not you qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. We are happy to talk with you about your situation and determine whether or not you qualify under the law to have your record sealed or expunged. This can often times be done over the phone if you are able to tell us where you were arrested, and what you were arrested for.
The first step in determining whether or not you qualify for a record sealing is to determine what you were arrested for. Unfortunately, there are some offenses for which a record sealing can not be issued. MOST OFFENSES CAN BE SEALED, though. If the case is old, and you aren’t sure why you were arrested, give us a call and we can usually look it up.
The next step is to determine what happened in the case. If the case never reached a disposition, and the charges were dropped, then the case can most likely be expunged, or obliterated. If the case went to trial and the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty,” then the record of arrest can most likely also be expunged.
If the case was disposed of short of trial and there was no conviction, then you might be eligible for a record sealing. How can this happen? In Florida, there is a legal procedure that is sometimes offered whereby an individual can plead nolo contendere, or no contest, in exchange for a “withhold of adjudication.” A no contest plea is neither admitting or denying the charges against you. In return, the withhold of adjudication is neither adjudicating you guilty or not guilty. In these circumstances, the court may still order you to pay court costs and may put you on probation. That is ok. The important thing is that with a withhold of adjudication, there is no conviction, and thus, the record sealing is still possible.
Once your record has been sealed or expunged, with limited exceptions, you can legally and lawfully answer that you have not been arrested or convicted of any crimes on applications. Plus, once your record is sealed or expunged, it will not be viewable, even by you.
How can you get started? Give us a call at (904) 355-2700. Our attorneys will look up your case and let you know if you qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. If you do qualify, then we can tell you what we need to do next in order to seal or expunge your record.