Criminal defense attorney Corey Cohen handles all criminal cases throughout central Florida from arrest to trial, and many times a case gets resolved short of trial with a plea to probation and the judge will withhold Adjudication of Guilt.
What does this mean? A withhold of adjudication means that there is not a conviction for the charge as long as you complete whatever sanctions the court imposed such as probation, classes or fines. This means you are not a convicted felon, which is extremely important in that you do not lose your basis civil rights, such as the right to carry a firearm or the right the vote. It also allows you the change to get your case sealed as long as your charges qualify and you have never been convicted of any criminal charges in the past.
Why would I need to get my case sealed? Even if you are not convicted of a criminal charge your arrest and charges are still public record and will still show on background checks and in the clerk of courts online. By sealing your case this takes the arrest, charges and any other information about the case off of public records search. This is very important when applying for a job, and they ask have you ever been convicted of a crime and you say no, which is the right answer, but then the arrest shows up on a background check and they don't hire you thinking you lied. Most people do not understand the difference between an arrest and conviction and that is why you want to get it sealed so that nothing comes up.
Can I get my case sealed? In order to be eligible to get a case sealed there are a few factors to determine if you are able to:
- Was Adjudication of Guilt withheld? If you were Adjudicated Guilty then there is no procedure to get this case sealed.
- Have you ever been convicted (Adjudicated Guilty) of anything before this case or after this case? You cannot have any convictions on your record, even misdemeanors to get something sealed or expunged of your record.
- Did you plea to a case that is eligible to get sealed? Not every criminal case is able to get sealed even with a withhold of adjudication. An example of this is if you plea to a Burglary of a Dwelling and you have no other criminal history and get a withhold you still cannot get this ever sealed and the arrest will show up forever.
- If your charge was dismissed should I get it sealed? No, you should apply to have it expunged, which is proper for cases that are dismissed. Sealing is only for cases where a plea was entered and the court kept the conviction off your record.
Contact a lawyer at our firm, The Law Office of Corey I. Cohen, for more information: 407-246-0066.