Everyone makes mistakes, but to have those mistakes follow your around for the rest of your life can cause serious problems. But if you have a criminal record that is just what might happen to you. You could miss out being hired for a dream job simply because a mistake you made in your youth still haunts you today, or you might not be allowed live in certain areas if there are things on your record that prove undesirable to a landlord or neighbor. This harsh reality is true for too many people, and does not have to be the case. In some instances there exists the possibility of having your record cleared, so you can have a fresh start. The way to get this done is to ask the Court to expunge the notation of the charge from your record, and we can help. But before you make the decision to seek expungement, take a look at how it works.
To ask that a record be expunged you first have to qualify to make the request. Not every offense is subject to the rules of expungement, but if your case falls into the category where expungement is an option, you can expect the following benefits from an order of expungement:
- Reference to the charges will no longer be visible by the public. This means that an ordinary citizen will not be able to see that you were once charged with the crime.
- Certain law enforcement agencies and parts of the government will still be able to view the charges, so it is important to know why you are seeking expungement before you file the motion.
- An expungement is not the same thing as a dismissal of the charges against you; it is simply a removal of those charges from public viewing. A dismissal is one of the ways to qualify to have the record expunged, but that is a separate legal matter than the expungement itself. Unless you ask for a dismissed case to be expunged, your record will still reflect the case, with the notation that it was dismissed.
The decision to proceed with a motion to expunge a record should only be made once you have allowed a competent criminal defense attorney to review your case to see if you qualify. Keep in mind that if you do go forward with asking for an expungement, the result is not the same as if the case against you were dismissed. A dismissal only shows that the case did not proceed within the Court system, but the underlying charge for which the case was originally brought will still appear. You can ask for an order of expungement on a dismissed case, but it is critical to understand that the two are not the same. If you are considering asking the Court to clear your record, call our office for help.
For more information about how to have criminal charges removed from your record, call an experienced defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We offer an initial consultation for no charge, and look forward to helping you resolve your case.