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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 http://www.keichlawfirm.com 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 http://www.keichlaw.com 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 DUI Penalties

If you live in the Walton County, Florida area (or are visiting the area for vacation) and are arrested for DUI, you should be aware that a conviction for DUI carries mandatory penalties as established by the Florida Legislature.  In addition to  those mandatory penalties, the local courts may also impose other penalties as a result of your conviction for DUI.

For persons convicted of DUI in the Walton County those Penalties Include:

1. Pay Fines and Court Costs

2. Probation

3. Suspension of Driver’s License

4. Vehicle Impound

5. Community Service Hours

6. DUI School

7. Ignition Interlock

8. Jail Time

9. Vehicle Impact Panel

All of these examples are either  required, or common examples of penalties associated with a DUI conviction in the Walton County area.  However, additional penalties or enhancement of the aforementioned penalties may occur when one of the following facts exists in your case:

– Children are in the Car

– BAC (breath/blood alcohol content) above 0.15

– damage to person or property (if serious bodily injury occurs to the other party then the charge of DUI could become a felony)

I first and foremost recommend and urge all to abstain from operating a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol.  However, if you have been charged with DUI in the Walton County, FLorida I  also recommend you speak with an attorney about your case prior to entering a plea to this charge.

Jeremy S. Keich is a Walton County criminal defense attorney with offices in Destin(Okaloosa County) and DeFuniak Springs(Walton County).  As a Destin criminal defense lawyer, I have helped clients resolve DUI and alcohol related offenses.

If you have been charged with  driving under the influence or any other criminal offense while in Walton County, Okaloosa County, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, DeFuniak Springs  or anywhere in Northwest Florida  , feel free to contact this Walton County Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit http://www.keichlaw.com 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 Drug Possession (Actual Possession vs. Constructive Possession)

Possession of a controlled substance (i.e. marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, hydrocodone, oxycodone) is a criminal offense in the State of Florida.  However, residents and visitors of Okaloosa or Walton County are often not aware that under the laws of this state, there are two types of possession:  actual v. constructive.

Actual Possession most often occurs where the drugs are found on the individual.  For example, actual possession occurs when a person has a marijuana cigarette in his pocket.  When a person is in actual possession of a controlled substance or a drug, knowledge of the illegal nature of that drug can be inferred (or presumed).

This is not the case where a person is arrested under a constructive possession theory.  Common examples of constructive possession occur when (1) law enforcement stop a vehicle in DeFuniak Springs with multiple occupants and drugs are located in a common area of the vehicle (the center console); or (2) when law enforcement enter a Destin hotel or residence occupied by multiple people and drugs are located inside the common area of the residence.  In Florida, when a person is charged under the constructive possession theory the prosecutor has the burden to prove that the individual had knowledge of the illegal (or illicit) nature  of the substance.

Further, to prove a constructive possession theory the prosecutor must convince the judge or jury that the person charged exercised dominion and control over the drug or controlled substance and a person’s mere proximity to the drug or controlled substance in legally insufficient to prove this element of the crime.

Regardless of whether you  were passenger in a traffic stop in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, a college student on spring break in a hotel or residence in Destin or an occupant of a home in Santa Rosa Beach , Florida, if you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime, you should consider speaking with a Walton County criminal defense lawyer to better understand your rights and options.

Jeremy S. Keich is a Walton County criminal defense attorney with offices in Destin(Okaloosa County) and DeFuniak Springs(Walton County).  As a DeFuniak Springs criminal defense lawyer, I have helped clients resolve these drug possession offenses and other drug related offenses.

If you have been charged with marijuana possession, cocaine possession, or possession of any other controlled substance  while in Destin or Walton County Florida or anywhere in Northwest Florida  during spring break, feel free to contact this Destin Criminal Defense Lawyer at (850) 460-2989 or visit http://www.keichlaw.com for  more information.

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

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