When you face criminal charges for any type of crime, the potential legal consequences are numerous. One of your biggest concerns is probably how it will affect your future, since a mere allegation or accusation that you committed a crime can impact you for many years. If the charge results in a conviction, the situation can become even more difficult. It can be challenging to get a job, obtain a housing loan, lease an apartment, or even get your college degree if you have a criminal record.
Fortunately, under certain circumstances, you might be able to work with a defense attorney to seal or even clear your criminal record. A Lake Mary expungement lawyer could review the facts of your case to see if they can help you get your criminal record expunged.
Florida law offers some individuals the chance to either have their criminal records sealed or expunged. There is a significant difference between the two.
Some individuals are eligible to have their records sealed so their criminal history is not available to the public. When a document is sealed, access to it is restricted to specific individuals, such as law enforcement officials. A prospective employer or potential relationship would not be able to learn about those specific aspects of a person’s criminal background if they had a sealed record.
An expunged record is different from a sealed record because an expunged record removes a person’s criminal history from their record entirely. Anyone searching for information on the person with the expunged record would find no information relating to their criminal history.
A seasoned Lake Mary attorney could meet with an individual to determine whether it is in their best interests to pursue an expungement or a sealing of their criminal record.
The type of offense, and the individual’s history of prior offenses, affects their ability to petition for an expungement. Generally, misdemeanor convictions are the only types of convictions that can be legally expunged. However, people cannot expunge many traffic offenses, such as drunk driving convictions, even if they are misdemeanors.
It is also not possible to expunge felony convictions. However, if there was no actual conviction, they might be able to petition to have the charges relating to a felony crime removed from their record. For instance, if there was a not guilty verdict, the charges were dropped, or the case was dismissed, a person could petition to have their record expunged.
People can also petition for administrative expungements if they were arrested by mistake or if there was some legal error that led to their arrest.
To pursue an expungement or a sealing of records, a petitioner must follow strict procedural requirements. An experienced expungement attorney in Lake Mary could review the circumstances and help determine if a person is eligible for an expungement or sealing. They could then help an individual comply with the precise legal requirements.
Florida authorities understand that sometimes people make mistakes and those mistakes should not continue to penalize them for the rest of their lives. If you made a mistake in the past and have led a respectable life since then, you might be able to remove the mention of your criminal offense from your records.
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