Criminal enterprises that operate in the world of human trafficking have no compassion or concern for the lives of their victims. Even if a person manages to escape from their tormenters, they may still face consequences from their time in captivity. It is not uncommon for the victims of human trafficking to face criminal prosecution, conviction, and punishment.
Thankfully, courts in Orlando and the rest of the state retain a procedure where victims of human trafficking can request an expungement of their criminal records. A successful expungement petition will result in the court erasing that conviction from a person’s criminal record. However, this is not available after every conviction and you will need to meet the relevant legal standard when filing a petition. Reaching out to a compassionate expungement attorney could be the first step towards receiving a human trafficking victim expungement in Orlando.
The State Legislature has recognized the devastating impact that human trafficking has on its victims. Because of this, it has established a procedure whereby the victims of this activity can request a clean criminal record after a conviction for criminal offenses that they committed while under the control of another.
Florida Statute § 787.06 provides the state’s definition of human trafficking. It says that a victim of human trafficking is a person who is forced by another individual to engage in any kind of labor. This typically includes sex work, sweatshops, or domestic servitude. Many victims of this abuse will receive official documentation from the government listing them as such. Others can obtain police reports and records that prove their presence in these schemes. This documentation is vital for any expungement petition.
The purpose of any expungement hearing is to give a petitioner a clean slate for the future. This applies regardless of whether the petitioner was the victim of human trafficking. A successful case will see the court erasing a criminal conviction from a person’s background check. This can make it easier to obtain housing, employment, or government benefits. However, people should know that this prior conviction will remain on the court’s and law enforcement’s official records.
FL Stat. § 943.0583 describes the process of human trafficking victim expungement for someone in Orlando. It states that a person may remove a conviction from their criminal record if they committed the offense while a victim of human trafficking. In addition, this person must seek out the expungement with due diligence. Finally, the conviction must fall under the category of those that are eligible for expungement.
Proving that a person was trafficked involves obtaining official certification of this status. As mentioned above, this may consist of an official designation by the government or law enforcement. They must also file a petition within a timely manner after their release and seek out help in the form of social services.
Finally, not every conviction is eligible for expungement. In general, offenses that involve violence against another can never be the subject of an expungement petition. These include aggravated assaults, armed burglaries, and incidents involving a death. People with convictions for most other offenses should speak with an attorney.
The victims of human trafficking face many challenges in their lives. Even after they emerge from captivity, their actions while under the control of another person may have resulted in criminal acts. However, there is a legal process available for the victims of human trafficking in Orlando to expunge those convictions from their records.
If you committed a non-violent crime as a victim of human trafficking, a lawyer could help you to pursue an expungement of that conviction. This could result in you getting a fresh start in your life and taking another step towards regaining your independence.
Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney