“I have a felony arrest record. How will this affect me?”
The dreaded question, for any criminal defendant who is lucky enough to have their charges reduced or dismissed. An answer to this question is always, it depends. The answer depends on what you were arrested for, and what the outcome of the case was plus a host of other factors. This is why it is so important to hire a lawyer who will fight tooth and nail to get your case dismissed or to avoid a conviction on your record. Becoming a convicted felon will prevent you from ever being able to have your record sealed or expunged. The only people who can take advantage of the privilege of expunging a record are those whose cases have been completely dismissed. Others whose cases were not dismissed, but were able to achieve a result with no conviction on their record may be eligible to have their records sealed.
The only way to try and minimize people viewing your arrest and court case history is to begin a seal or expunge process. Sealing and expunging your record will prevent anyone from being able to search for your case through the clerk of courts. There are however other ways for people to look up an arrest record. For instance, a person can search through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or even the local police station for reports and records related to another citizens name. This is why starting the sealing and expunging process is so crucial to protect your privacy. Once the court orders the record sealed or expunged several copies of the order are forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as well as to the police station. Depending on whether the case was expunged or sealed, the records are then either destroyed or sealed to prevent searches.
Even if your case is eligible to be sealed or expunged, there is no guarantee that nobody will ever be able to find these records. There are of course still other ways for people to find your record. We live in a day and age that information is readily available to almost everyone. If you were physically arrested for your case, it is likely that your mug shot will appear in web searches under your name for years to come. There are some companies that will guarantee a complete scrub of all internet sites related to your arrest and mug shot record, but it can be extremely time consuming and expensive.
So what does a person with a felony arrest record do to make sure that their past doesn’t constantly haunt them? Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast or easy answer. The only thing you can do is to have someone help protect your rights and do everything possible to have your charges dismissed. Once the charges are dismissed, an experienced attorney will be able to minimize the effect of the court case and arrest. Record sealing and expunging is the most important step towards removing evidence that the case existed.
If you are facing any criminal charges in Florida or simply have questions regarding any issues in criminal law, call 954-620-8320 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Attorneys are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for a free case evaluation.
Never speak to police or go to court without first speaking with a criminal defense attorney.
Remember, even fish would not get caught if they kept their mouth shut.