If you are facing a criminal charge, it may seriously impact your future because the mark will remain on your record.
However, depending on the circumstances, your record may be eligible for expungement and you may reap the benefits.
Looking into your background
Technology makes it easy to look into anyone’s history. If you apply for a job, the recruiter will probably perform a background check on you as a matter of company policy. If you want to buy a vehicle or rent an apartment, the same thing will happen. In fact, an actual conviction is not even necessary. Any kind of legal record can cause a potential employer, car dealer or landlord to turn down your application.
How expungement works
If your court record is eligible for expungement, it normally undergoes physical destruction. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains one copy, but the contents will remain confidential and never available to the public. A major benefit of this procedure is that if anyone asks if you have a criminal conviction, you can answer “no” and mean it in all honesty. You have the right to tell people you were never arrested, accused of a crime or charged.
Guidelines for expungement
To be eligible to seek expungement, you will have to meet one of certain conditions:
- You were either found not guilty of a crime or acquitted following a trial
- Law enforcement released you from custody before filing formal charges
- You have met the required waiting period before petitioning the court for expungement
- You have paid any required restitution or fines
- You have successfully completed probation, community service or diversion program requirements
- The court dismissed the criminal proceedings involving you
- There are no pending charges and no new charges filed against you
Getting your life back
Sometimes, people are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. An arrest is not always warranted, and it is possible to overturn a conviction. An expungement of your record is worth pursuing because it may be the step you need to take your life back.