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Can Drug Charges Ever Be Removed From Your Records, Either Through Expungement Or Sealing In Florida?
Drug charges can be removed from the official record of the Clerk of the Court if a separate proceeding is done under the Florida Records Seal and Expunction Statute. The applicable statute is under the Criminal Procedures and Corrections title. It is not under the Standard Criminal Law title. Additionally, we are now recommending that people also use a procedure to scrub the Internet of digital fingerprints of arrest records in a completely different proceeding. Digital record erasure does not require that conviction be deferred or withheld.
A common record removal problem is when people are charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol or a misdemeanor marijuana charge and they have adjudication withheld. If they represented themselves and they went to court and adjudication was withheld, the problem is they do not have a conviction on their record. That sounds like the solution, doesn’t it? It sounds good to say “no conviction on my record”.
And that is a misleading yet factual statement that the state attorney uses to sell people bad plea bargains – one sided diversion programs – all of the time. What this assistant state attorney in the courtroom is not saying to the ignorant layperson in is “this is going to show up in any criminal background check as criminal history, and if it is in any way related to a drug or alcohol charge, it will be considered that “the applicant deceptively hid a criminal history for a drug or alcohol charge.”
I get calls like this at least once a week, where someone tried to handle their case on their own because it was a “minor” charge but now they have “criminal history” that is causing them problems with getting a good paying job or into a top graduate school. They wanted to save $2,500 and end up losing $250,000 in lost future income because a minor case was bungled.
Why Is It Important To Hire An Experienced Attorney To Handle Your Case?
I think I actually answered that one in the last question. People are basically asking Google “can I represent myself in court for a DUI, drug charge, or domestic battery charge?”, Google is taking them to places that tell them that they can, and they are getting legally destroyed in a rigged criminal justice system where an unrepresented person doesn’t stand a chance.
But there is a second problem: how do you know if this defense attorney is one of the best? Do you want a low skilled lawyer charging big bucks or a top defense attorney certified as a specialist in criminal law? The answer is obvious but finding a real specialist is hard.
It starts with the Internet search. The Florida Bar is a governmental regulatory agency instead of a private business for a profit. So, the Bar does not advertise and most people do not know how to look for a lawyer.
Instead of finding the rating system the Bar uses to categorize and determine the best of the best, most consumers find lawyer advertising sites that fool consumers with unofficial ratings that are not even recognized by the Florida Bar nor even used to determine a lawyer’s skill and ability. Instead, consumers are confronted with meaningless social media marketing stars and slogans such as super lawyers.
The reality is the only rating system that matters is the Florida Bar because they regulate all the lawyers in Florida. Their system is real simple, you are either an uncertified member of the Bar or you are a specialist in one of twenty-eight, soon to be twenty-nine areas. All a consumer has to do is ask a defense attorney “are you a specialist?” The answer will either be “yes” or the long story of why some fake rating is just as important.
Consumers are justifiably frustrated by the spam search results which don’t give them what they need to know. Most consumers want a specialist to handle their criminal case, especially if they are a first offender or facing serious drug punishments, penalties and other harsh consequences.
Get Answers to Other Questions Related to Drug Charges in Florida or call Attorney Stephen G. Cobb of the Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm in Florida for a FREE Initial Consultation at (850) 466-1522 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.