I have been sealing and expunging Florida criminal records for years. Most people know what is in their criminal backgrounds. You would definitely remember being arrested and going to jail, unless you were severely intoxicated. In most jails and pretrial detention facilities, a person is not released until he or she has sobered up. Even if you bonded out of jail when you were intoxicated, you would likely remember going to court on another date.
As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer that seals and expunges Florida records, I have had a few clients that did not know what exactly was on there criminal records. In some cases, the person was never arrested. They were issued a Florida ticket known as a notice to appear. This was actually a criminal citation. This happens often with Jacksonville petty theft and Florida drug paraphernalia cases. They believe, because they were not arrested, it will not show up during a Florida criminal background check. That is not true. Another common example is for Jacksonville traffic tickets that are also criminal charges. Florida driving on a suspended license tickets can lead to criminal convictions.
Some people do not know that they have convictions on their records, because the crimes occurred so long ago. They believe that after so many years, the cases will disappear. This is also not true. Let’s say that you were charged with Florida aggravated assault in Dade County. You move to Clay County ten years later, and you are trying to get a job. A potential employer will likely be able to see the Florida assault arrest.
Another way that a person may not know what is on their record is if they did not understand the legal proceedings. When I am a person’s Jacksonville criminal attorney, I like to thoroughly explain the steps of the criminal case, so the client is not confused. This is especially important if a defendant is going to enter a plea of guilty or no contest to a charge. Sometimes, defendants do not have a lawyer. They represent themselves. They may have had an attorney that did not explain case and the plea deal properly to the client. They may have thought that they were not convicted of a crime when they actually were.
You should know what is on your criminal record. As I stated, most people do. When I am going to seal or expunge a record, I always ask the client if he or she has any convictions or prior arrests. If a person has been adjudicated guilty of a crime as an adult or delinquent as a juvenile criminal defendant, this will stop the person from getting his or her record sealed. If you are not sure, you should run a background check on yourself or contact that county that would have the arrest record.
You do not want to spend the money hiring a Jacksonville criminal lawyer to seal or expunge a Florida record if you have a prior conviction. Unless you can get the adjudication removed, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will never issue a certificate clearing you. If you need helping erasing your background, contact a Jacksonville lawyer at (904) 564-2525.