It’s been said that “since everybody has had a youth, everybody has a past.”
That’s no redundancy, for the saying implies that most everyone has done something in their past that they’re not necessarily proud of, wish they could do over again or – more times than not – wish they could erase.
The fact is, a simple mistake can hamper your future, especially if you’re in the process of looking for a job and a prospective employer learns of a youthful indiscretion. But that mistake doesn’t have to ruin your future, at least not if the mistake can be sealed or expunged – a legal process that effectively removes an incident from public view.
First, you need some facts. Then you need the right law firm to guide your best efforts – to secure a happier, worry-free future.
Consider a real-life scenario
Perhaps this has happened to you; it happened to a young, hard-working professional at a real estate office who applied for a second job at a restaurant.
In the process of conducting a background check, the employer discovered that the young man had, in his youth, entered a plea for possession of an open container, which is a municipal ordinance offense and is a second degree misdemeanor.
Obviously embarrassed but determined not to let this infraction derail his future job prospects, the young man decided to look into the process of having this incident sealed from his background. Here’s what he found.
You, too, may qualify for expungement
First, know that if you have ever been arrested in Florida, you have a criminal record, meaning the general public and your potential employers can see the arrest and the charge, even if you were not prosecuted or if the charges against you were dismissed.
If you don’t know the outcome, you can find out by getting a copy of the final order issued by the clerk in the county in which the arrest took place. You can accomplish this by checking the county clerk’s website or, if arrest records are not posted online or the arrest took place more than 20 years ago, requesting a paper copy.
Florida law allows someone to expunge the record of one arrest or criminal incident in a lifetime. Florida statute 943.0585 provides a list of eligibility requirements a person must meet in order to have a record expunged and certain offenses that are prohibited from being eligible for expungement in Florida.
If your particular charge is not on the “prohibited list,” you were not found guilty and you never had a previous case expunged, you are probably eligible for expungement. Two additional conditions exist:
• If you are seeking to expunge your record immediately, there must not have been an indictment, information or other charging document filed in your case. If one was filed, the case must have resulted in a dismissal by the state attorney or by the court. If your case proceeded to trial, you are not eligible for expungement of your criminal record.
• If the record has been successfully sealed and a period of 10 years has passed since the date it was sealed, you may be eligible to petition for expungement of the criminal record.
You need Kate Mesic
Like the young professional who sought a second, after-hours job, you need an experienced and compassionate trial attorney to help you petition for expungement or sealing of your criminal record. And like this young professional, you could benefit from the assistance of Kate Mesic.
Mrs. Mesic received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, in 2007 and was admitted to the Florida Bar the same year. She began her legal career in Ocala, Florida, as an assistant state’s attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. While there, Mrs. Mesic prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases and tried more than 25 jury trials involving issues ranging from domestic battery to driving under the influence. In 2011, Mrs. Mesic opened The Law Offices of Kate Mesic, P.A.. She was motivated, in part, by the desire to show people how their past mistakes do not have to interfere with a happy and prosperous future.