Imagine that you were arrested for grand theft in Jacksonville. Your charges were eventually dropped. You put this incident behind you and moved on with your life. You apply for a job and your soon-to-be employer runs a Florida background check to see if you have a criminal record. The Jacksonville theft arrest appears on the background check. Why? How did this happen? Your charges were dropped. The problem is that the arrest created a record. This is public record.
Let’s change the facts a little. In this scenario, you were not arrested. You were accused of shoplifting from Wal-Mart. A police officer gave you a notice to appear citation for petit theft. You hired a Jacksonville criminal lawyer. Your charges were dismissed. You move to a new town and fill out an application to rent an apartment. A standard background check is conducted. Your Jacksonville petit theft charge shows up. Why? You were not even arrested. Even though you were not arrested, a record was created.
What can you do about this? You may be able to expunge your Florida criminal record. Speak with a Jacksonville criminal attorney that has experience expunging and sealing records in Florida. Call 20 Miles Law at (904) 564-2525. You may be able to seal your Florida record if you are unable to expunge it. This is something that your Jacksonville criminal lawyer will be able to determine.
“When a criminal history record is sealed, the public will not have access to it. Certain governmental or related entities, primarily those listed in s. 943.059(4)(a), Florida Statutes, have access to sealed record information in its entirety. When a record has been expunged, those entities which would have access to a sealed record will be informed that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order. All they would receive is a caveat statement indicating that ‘Criminal Information has been Expunged from this Record.’”
The FDLE also explains why you have a criminal history when the charges against you were dropped or dismissed:
“The Florida Legislature has determined that Florida criminal history records are public unless the record is sealed or expunged. See Section 943.053(3), Florida Statutes, which provides for public access to criminal history records. The term ‘criminal history information’ is defined, tracking the federal definition, at Section 943.045(4), Florida Statutes. A criminal history record is created when a person is arrested and fingerprinted, and includes the disposition of that arrest, whether it is a conviction, acquittal, dismissal of charges before trial, or other disposition.”