Receiving a “written arrest” in Florida creates a criminal record. If an officer gets your information and leaves you with paperwork, YOU HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD.
I receive weekly calls from Tallahassee college students. The same students who are now being denied jobs because of a simple “minor in possession charge” here in Tallahassee, Florida.
Persons under 21, college students who are away from home and parents. These are the students most at risk. Diversion helps avoid telling their parent. A short term solution for a long term disaster. Fast forward from the diversion program to 5 years ahead when employers start denying applications. The answer on the job application that there is no criminal record and no arrest, is not true. “They dropped the charges” or “I had diversion” or “I never went to jail” or “I did not get arrested” : ALL WRONG.
I have written before on the myth of the expungement program. There are numerous myths surrounding Pretrial Diversion as well and failing to take immediate action can lead to dire consequences. Why taint and lessen or destroy the value of an expensive, hard-earned college education?
The better practice is hire a seal and expunge attorney. Hire the attorney to seal or expunge the written citation, Notice to Appear (NTA). Any documentation that requires a signature from you, means you have a record. We live in the digital age.
It currently takes more than a year to process a seal and expunge. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is wholly underfunded. Currently, only one person is processing the entire state.
After FDLE issues a certificate, a civil case begins in circuit court. The attorney researches, prepares, and drafts a petition to seal or expunge. Filing fees apply to both FDLE and filing of a civil petition to seal or expunge. The civil petition is required so a judge can enter an order directing the seal or expunge.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.