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Walton County, Florida Expungements: What You Need to Know

court-gavelAn expunction of a criminal history record means that there is a court order that means a criminal history record must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record; except that any criminal history record in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases. A criminal history record ordered expunged that is retained by the department is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and not available to any person or entity except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge.

A person who has had their criminal history record expunged may oklahoma-expungements-lawyer-fulllawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record:

  • Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency.
  •  Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution.
  • subsequently seeks to expunge another criminal history record
  • Seeks to be employed or licensed by (or contract with) certain agencies such as Department of Children and Families; Agency for Health Care Administration; Agency for Persons with Disabilities; Department of Health; DJJ; Department of Elderly Affairs; Department of Education (including district school boards, charter schools, any private or parochial school; or child care facilities)

Other circumstances apply where one must disclose the criminal history record, the bulleted information is an example only and not intended to be an – list.

Prior to filing his or her Petition for Expunction with the court that presided over the criminal incident, an individual must first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  The application for the Certificate of Eligibility must show that the applicant has obtained a certified statement from the prosecutor that:

  • That an indictment, information, or other charging document was not filed or issued in the case.
  • That an indictment, information, or other charging document, if filed or issued in the case, was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, or was dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that none of the charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains resulted in a trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt.
  • That the criminal history record does not relate to a violation of s. 393.135, s. 394.4593, s. 787.025, chapter 794, s. 796.03, s. 800.04, s. 810.14, s. 817.034, s. 825.1025, s. 827.071, chapter 839, s. 847.0133, s.847.0135, s. 847.0145, s. 893.135, s. 916.1075, a violation enumerated in s. 907.041, or any violation specified as a predicate offense for registration as a sexual predator pursuant to s. 775.21, without regard to whether that offense alone is sufficient to require such registration, or for registration as a sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, where the defendant was found guilty of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any such offense, or that the defendant, as a minor, was found to have committed, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to committing, such an offense as a delinquent act, without regard to whether adjudication was withheld.

The applicant must also :

  • remit a $75 processing fee to the department for placement in the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund,unless such fee is waived by the executive director.
  • submit to the department a certified copy of the disposition of the charge to which the petition to expunge pertains.
  • have never, prior to the date on which the application for a certificate of eligibility is filed, been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation, or been adjudicated delinquent for committing any felony or a misdemeanor specified in s. 943.051(3)(b).
  • have as not been adjudicated guilty of, or adjudicated delinquent for committing, any of the acts stemming from the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.
  • have never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s. 901.33, or former s. 943.058, unless expunction is sought of a criminal history record previously sealed for 10 years pursuant to paragraph (h) and the record is otherwise eligible for expunction.
  •  no longer be under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains.(h) Has previously obtained a court order sealing the record under this section, former s. 893.14, former s.901.33, or former s. 943.058 for a minimum of 10 years because adjudication was withheld or because all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were not dismissed prior to trial, without regard to whether the outcome of the trial was other than an adjudication of guilt. The requirement for the record to have previously been sealed for a minimum of 10 years does not apply when a plea was not entered or all charges related to the arrest or alleged criminal activity to which the petition to expunge pertains were dismissed prior to trial.

expungementMany prospective clients call to inquire on the expunction of his/her Walton County criminal offense such as underage possession of alcohol, possession of a controlled substance, grant theft.  Most commonly spring breakers look to conceal their minor run in with law enforcement once they have paid the citation.  I always recommend that a prospective client calling about an expungement  prior to his/her case being resolved  address the criminal episode to his or her best ability on the front end rather than relying on the expunction process.  This may mean the individual should consult with or retain a Walton County Attorney to handle their case.  I suggest this not only for the reasons set forth above, but also because many third-party vendors who obtain a criminal history record do not receive the Order or Expunction from the Court. This results in these third-party vendors continuing to publish expunged (or sealed) information.  Additionally, it may be more cost-effective to pay for a Walton County, Florida lawyer prior to resolution opposed to retaining the lawyer for the expunction process.

_MG_0261clr_web-1Jeremy S. Keich is a Destin criminal defense attorney with an office in Miramar Beach (Walton County).  As a Walton County criminal defense lawyer, I have helped clients expunge their criminal records and alcohol related offenses.

If you have been charged with minor in possession and want to discuss your case further, including expunction of the criminal offense feel free to contact this Walton County Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit for  more information.

WARNING: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice nor should it be construed as an attorney-client relationship.

Walton County, Florida: Bail, Bonds & Pretrial Release

What happens after an arrest?  Will I remain in Jail?  These are  common questions first asked of me when I have a client, prospective client or the accused’s family contact my office.

Generally speaking, once  arrested the individual will not be require to sit in jail for an extended period of time without an opportunity for release.  Persons who have been arrested will generally be taken before a judge  the morning after arrest(or within 24 hours after the arrest) for first appearance.  It is at first appearance where the presiding judge will make a probable cause determination and determine whether the individual is entitled to be released from incarceration.

At the individual’s first appearance, the presiding judge will determine if the individual arrested shall be entitled to pretrial release (or bail).  Bail is any of the following forms of release (or any combination) issued by the judge:

– personal recognizance of the individual arrested;

– executing an unsecured appearance bond in an amount set by the judge;

– placing restrictions on travel, association, or place of abode of the individual;

– executing a bail bond (cash or surety);

-and any other condition considered reasonably necessary to assure the individual’s appearance in court.

In determining whether or not to release an individual the court may consider:

– the nature and circumstances of the alleged criminal offense (and the corresponding penalty for that offense)

– the weight of the evidence;

– individual’s family ties to the community;

– length time the individual has resided in the community;

– employment history of the individual;

– financial resources of the individual;

– past and present conduct of the individual (including previous failures to appear, convictions);

– the individual’s need for substance abuse or mental health treatment;

– the probability that the individual’s release may pose a danger on the community;

– and any other facts the court may consider to be relevant.

The purpose of bail or pretrial release is to secure the presence of the individual at all future proceedings.   No person charged with a dangerous crime identified in 907.041 (e.g. aggravated battery, burglary of a dwelling, robbery, sexual battery…just to name a few), Florida Statutes, is entitled to nonmonetary conditions of release, except for a narrowly tailored exception.

Once conditions for pretrial release have been set at first appearance, the individual may  also ask the court to modify the previously imposed conditions as well.  One common scenario often modified is modifying “no contact with a victim” to “no violent contact” or “no unlawful contact”.

If you are seeking to modify pretrial release conditions or have a friend of family member who has been denied pretrial release at first appearance  in Walton County, Okaloosa County, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, DeFuniak Springs  or anywhere in Northwest Florida  , feel free to contact this DeFuniak Springs Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit for  more information.

WARNING: Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice nor should it be construed as an attorney-client relationship.

Destin/Fort Walton Beach Assault and Battery

As a criminal defense attorney I often have clients from Okaloosa or Walton County who have been arrested for assault or battery.  Both of these offenses are misdemeanors.  Each however has a felony counter part (i.e. aggravated assault, felony battery, battery by strangulation, and aggravated battery).

In Florida an assault is defined as: “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.”  ( See Section 784.011, Florida Statutes).

A Battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other or intentionally causes bodily harm. (See Section 784.03, Florida Statutes).

In Florida a battery constitutes a first degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to  no more than a year in jail or twelve months probation.  While jail time may not be required, the prosecutor will likely ask for probation,  fines/court costs and attend anger management if convicted in Okaloosa or Walton County as charged.  A domestic violence battery may entail more severe punishment.

Further, a person who is convicted of battery may face further implications as it is considered a violent criminal offense and could impact his or her employment status.

One of the most common defenses to a charge of battery is self-defense or justifiable use of non-deadly force.  Often the person who is arrested for battery may not be the initial aggressor but simply the person who caused the most injury or “threw the last punch”.

If you have been charged with battery in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, DeFuniank Springs, Crestview or anywhere else in Okaloosa County or Walton County I recommend that you consult with a criminal defense attorney about your case.

About the author: Jeremy S. Keich is a practicing criminal defense lawyer with offices in Destin and DeFuniak Springs who has handled assault and battery cases during his tenure as a criminal defense lawyer.  To contact Mr. Keich please call (850) 460-2989 or visit his  professional website at for more information.

WARNING: No information in this blog should be construed as legal advise nor as an attorney-client relationship.


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