CRIMINAL RECORDS: They don’t have to follow you!
Florida Expungement Attorneys that specialize in Sealing and Expungement of Records.
At The Law Offices of Kevin C. Maxwell and Associates, in Orlando, Florida, we represent people throughout central Florida. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.
Our Orlando criminal defense attorneys receive calls every day from many people who have some type of criminal activity in their past. They learn this history has been following them through their life, and want to know what they can do about it. Many people who have been involved with the criminal justice system, either through an arrest, or plea of no contest, or sentenced to a withhold of adjudication, find that even a minor involvement in the criminal justice system or an arrest can remain on their record, forever preventing them from achieving many of their goals in life.
Criminal records have a negative impact on a person’s life – many times reducing and even eliminating the freedom to move forward and achieve many things that you are trying to accomplish , including obtaining gainful employment, obtaining or maintaining academic enrollment in a university, eligibility for scholarships, developing a career or advancing in your employment, etc. This negative impact interferes in a person’s ability to become educated, earn a livelihood and support themselves and their loved ones.
There are many good, hard working citizens who, at one time in their life – perhaps when they were much younger, found themselves involved in a criminal act and became part of the criminal justice system. They had no intention of becoming a “career criminal”, simply made a mistake, went through the system to pay for that mistake, learned from that mistake and want to simply get on with their lives and move forward to reach goals that will take them down a road far removed from their past.
Perhaps it was an offense committed fifteen (15) years ago, or a misdemeanor offense committed when you were younger. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, or what the offense was. Once you are in the criminal justice system, your past can follow you, and it can interfere with your ability to move forward in your life.
Many people do not realize that in this day of computer technology, with only a click of the mouse, there are many people, agencies, employers, etc., that will have access to your past. Before you consider applying for entrance to a college or university, or for an academic scholarship, for a car or home loan, or to rent a home/apartment, or for a new employment position that you are hoping will establish a career, you should know that more and more people are requiring extensive credit and criminal background checks to eliminate those who they deem to be not credible. There are more people applying than there are jobs, scholarships, etc., so that many sources such as universities, corporations, finance companies, credit companies, etc., can afford to be selective when determining who is the more credible applicant.
There is good news. You should also know that you don’t have to be subjected to rejection because of background screening . There are many categories of criminal offenses that can be sealed or expunged, clearing your criminal record and giving you a fresh start — free of the stigma of any previous criminal act.
At the law office of our criminal defense attorneys, we understand that many individuals, while not “career criminals,” nevertheless may have a criminal record that remains a blemish on their life. By working with you to seal or expunge the records of your past offense, we can help you obtain the clean start you need, and help you turn your history from a negative into a positive. This means you can confidently apply for academics, scholarships, jobs, loans, credit – virtually anything that requires a background check – without fear of rejection and allowing you to achieve your goals.
Please take a moment to look below at the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the sealing or expungement of criminal records:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
REGARDING SEALING OR EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
- WHAT DOES A CRIMINAL RECORD CONSIST OF?
A criminal record is a history of the arrest, arraignment, pleading (claims of not-guilty or no contest), criminal charging affidavit and all documentation that is held in any clerk’s office, judicial branch or law enforcement agency’s files regarding the matter.
- CAN A CRIMINAL RECORD BE CLEARED, SEALED DESTROYED OR EXPUNGED?
Yes. Certain charges can be cleared or cleansed from one’s criminal record through the legal process known as sealing or expungement. Arrests that result in the finding of adjudication of guilt withheld (can be sealed and thus removed from public records), subject to certain statutory exceptions.
- WHAT DOES SEALING CRIMINAL RECORDS ACCOMPLISH?
The process of sealing one’s criminal records is not a complete erasure of the files but, rather, seals or closes the file from public view.
- HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM EXPUNGEMENT?
The process of expungement of criminal records removes the arrest record from being a public record. An expunged record is no longer visible when a background check is done. Expungement is usually the best way to guarantee that a past mistake does not come back to haunt you.
- HOW DOES MY ARREST AFFECT ME?
In any arrest that results in a dismissal or nolle prosequi, wherein the state has dropped the case, the record can be expunged as long as you have never been adjudicated guilty or delinquent for another charge.
Remember, a potential employer, college, university, credit company, etc., can easily obtain your criminal record or history. Law enforcement agencies, i.e., police, county, court, clerk’s offices, prosecutorial agencies, and the FBI maintain criminal histories. Many of these records are now available for the public, via the internet. If your criminal record is sealed or expunged, then you may be legally allowed to say that the conviction or arrest never occurred on job applications, rental applications, or for many other purposes.
A single charge or arrest can have a devastating impact to your career and future, especially if you are between jobs, seeking a promotion at your job, applying for new employment, applying for colleges, universities and/or post-graduate schools.
- CAN ALL CRIMINAL CHARGES BE SEALED OR EXPUNGED? No. Not all criminal charges can be sealed or expunged. Most misdemeanors and some felonies can be sealed or expunged. Please contact or call us at (407) 228-3838 so that one of our attorneys can give you advice on whether or not your charges are eligible to be sealed or expunged.
- HOW DOES THE SEALING OR EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS WORK?
After we determine that your charges qualify for sealing or expungement, our office prepares an application, which is presented to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), along with your fingerprint card. FDLE will run a background check to make a final determination that you qualify for a sealing or expungement.
Once they have determined you qualify, FDLE will prepare a Certificate of Eligibility, and send it to us. Upon receipt, we prepare a Petition or Motion to file with the court, with copies going to the appropriate prosecutor’s office, along with copies to the other law enforcement agencies that maintain your criminal history record information.
In many instances, the judge will grant the Motion or Petition without scheduling a hearing requiring you to appear in court. In some instances, however, the judge may require a hearing, and a date is scheduled to appear before the judge. At the hearing, the judge will consider the specific facts and circumstances of your case, and in your life, review your record to insure you have successfully completed your sentence, and investigate as to whether or not any new arrests or criminal convictions have been added to your record.
The judge will also listen to both the prosecutor’s position and your attorney’s arguments, before deciding whether or not to grant the sealing or expungement petition.
- HOW LONG WILL THE SEALING OR EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS TAKE?
The sealing or expungement process can take, on average, anywhere from two (2) to nine (9) months to complete. It is not possible to give an exact or definite time, as the process is dependent upon several factors. Please contact us at (407) 849-2949 so that one of our attorneys can further assist you.
- HOW DO I START THE PROCESS?
That’s simple. Contact The Law Offices of Kevin C. Maxwell and Associates to discuss your matter and set an appointment for a free consultation to determine whether you qualify for a sealing or expungement. If you qualify, we can assist you in sealing or expunging your criminal record, and you may not even have to make a court appearance.
Call us at (407) 849-2949 for your free consultation. Our Orlando expungement attorneys are experienced in the sealing and expungement of criminal records and are available to talk with you to answers any specific questions you might have.