Categories Menu

Posted by in Articles

Florida’s 2013 Mugshots and Offenses

2013 has proven to be another interesting year for Florida natives. According to the Huffington Post, the Sunshine State has produced an interesting array of strange headliners, from “the attractive convict,” whose mugshot sparked a meme frenzy, to a dog who shot its owners – accidentally of course, and was cleared by Florida State Police. While not all run-ins with the law are as amusing or popular by the internet’s standards, many arrests and subsequent infractions can generate a great deal of unfavorable publicity that may prevent you from finding desirable employment or housing.

If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime in Florida, information pertaining to the incident may still be accessible online or in court databases – which can be accessed by the general public. Regardless of whether your offense was deemed to be unintentional, like Fido shooting his master, or if your arrest did not result in a conviction, the event will remain on your criminal record until you actively have it sealed. Sealing your arrest will make the record confidential and unavailable to the general public.

2014 New Year’s Resolution to Seal Your Florida Arrest

The attractive convict’s mugshot may have invited talks of a modeling contract, but most people who have had a mugshot taken are not so fortunate. Mugshots do not lead to job offers, but, rather, more often than not deter job prospects. Employers can easily view your mugshot online simply by entering your name into a popular search engine. Sealing your arrest might not be enough to prevent your mugshot from being posted on websites whose sole purpose is to post mugshots. What sealing your arrest from your criminal record will do is entitle you to have your image removed from these sites. Some sites charge to remove to take down mugshots, while others post booking photos with the intention of keeping communities safe. Either way, if your arrest is sealed, it is deemed to have never occurred and as such you should not have to endure the social stigma of an offender.

How To Move Forward With A Record Sealing

Take your 2013 arrest and make a New Year’s resolution to have it sealed and clear your image. Start over in 2014 by cleaning the slate. Once your criminal record has been sealed, your arrest and related information will no longer appear on most criminal background checks for employment and housing, which may make securing a desirable career or housing possible.

Whether looking to seal your 2013 Florida arrest, or to perform a background database check, you should contact a knowledgeable Florida based attorney who has experience sealing records and updating background checks. Make sure that the attorney is licensed by the Florida State Bar and that they have been awarded an A rating by the Better Business Bureau.

Read More

Posted by in News

“Stand Your Ground” Laws in Florida

Florida stand your ground protest

Stand Your Ground photo by LaDawna Howard

“Stand your ground” laws, self-defense laws, have always been a subject of debate, since the person defending themselves must be able to prove that he or she was acting in self-defense. “Stand your ground” laws may vary from state to state, but generally allows an individual to use force, rather than retreat when being threatened. “Stand your ground” allows an individual to protect himself or herself when facing imminent danger until law enforcement arrives. Because the terms of the law are so subjective, “stand your ground” laws can be easily abused or misconstrued, making a law that was intended to give individuals a right to defend themselves very controversial.

“Stand your ground” laws in the state of Florida are as follows:

“A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” Title XLVI Florida Statues s.776.013(3)

Factors to take into consideration in addition to the Florida law as it is specifically laid out may include but are not limited to:

  • Who initiated the confrontation?
  • Whether the person evoking “stand your ground” pursed the victim?
  • Whether the person evoking “stand your ground” was on his or her own property when the incident occurred?
  • Whether a witness was present while the incident was occurring?
  • Whether there is physical evidence to prove that evoking the “stand your ground” law was necessary?
  • Details of what caused the case (home invasion, rape, black-market trade gone bad, etc.)

“Stand Your Ground” Laws Outside of Florida

“Stand your ground” laws were created with the intention to allow an individual to justifiably defend themselves, meaning that if you feel that your life is in danger, that you may “stand your ground” by defending yourself. 32 states within the United States observe “stand your ground” laws in one form or another. Generally, the law stipulates three main points:

  • You have the right to self-defense if you or someone else is in imminent danger
  • You have good reason to believe that immediate use of force is necessary to defend against danger
  • You cannot use more force that is reasonably necessary to defend against danger

If your act of standing your ground met all three of these stipulations, you may be within your legal rights to protect yourself or another individual under “stand your ground” laws.

The states that observe a form of “stand your ground” laws are:
Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Criticism of “Stand Your Ground” Law

Criticisms of “stand your ground” usually entail commentary like, “shoot first, ask questions later.” The most recent event to nationally bring attention to the “stand your ground” law was the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case. 28-year-old George Zimmerman shot a 17-year-old African American student named Trayvon Martin while Zimmerman was on neighbor watch for his gated community, a position that Zimmerman appointed to himself. Zimmerman claimed that he acted in self-defense, and therefore, under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, was acquitted at his trial. Martin, however, was not carrying a weapon at the time that he was shot.

Naturally, after State of Florida v. George Zimmerman, there has been high demands to not only amend but to repeal “stand your ground” laws. The argument is that anyone can claim that they felt that their life was in danger. There is also the question of how far is too far? Stand your ground is meant to protect individuals who have had to protect themselves by use of force, usually a form of violent force. The ends, however, need to justify the means.

Expunging Your Charge

If you were charged for committing a crime while attempting to protect yourself, you may be eligible to expunge your charge from your criminal record. Even if you were unable to claim “stand your ground” laws during the incident for which you were charged, you might be able to expunge the offense from your criminal record, provided that your offense meets the requirements for expungement in Florida. Once your offense is expunged from your criminal record, your offense and the related case will no longer appear on your criminal record and you can legally say that you were not convicted of the crime.

Read More

Posted by in News

Reasons to Expunge a Record in Miami

Miami is the most populated city in Florida and is known for its resort like weather and beautiful beaches. If, however, you have a criminal record in Miami, you may not be able to enjoy all of the perks that Miami has to offer. An arrest by the Miami police force may give you a criminal record. A criminal record may be the reason that you are continually passed over for employment and housing. There are many reasons to expunge your Miami criminal record. By expunging an offense from your criminal record, you are ensuring that your offense does not show up on criminal background checks for employment and housing, which in turn may help you to create a more desirable life for yourself.

How a Criminal Record May be Preventing you from Expanding your Career

Most employers today run background checks as part of the prescreening process. If you are unable to pass the background check, your application will most likely not even make it to human resources. Having a criminal background can prevent you from being considered for employment for which you are well qualified. Many employers cannot employ applicants with criminal records, and others will not simply because of the high level of competition in the workforce. With so many eligible people looking for employment, having a criminal record is a good reason to eliminate an otherwise desirable candidate.

In particular, if you are looking for a career in any service field such as nursing, caregiving, education, the armed forces, or to be a peace officer, you cannot have a criminal record. Only under very limited circumstances may your application be reviewed so that you can explain the terms of your offense to the interviewer. Otherwise, a criminal record makes it very difficult to find employment in any of these service fields.

How a Criminal Record may be Preventing you from getting Desirable Housing

The same is true of trying to purchase or lease a house, apartment, or condo. Landlords also run background checks and are equally particular about to whom they rent or sell. Having a criminal record appear on your background check for housing may prevent you from being considered for that beautiful beachfront condo, or that chic Art Deco style South Beach apartment. Expunging an offense from your criminal record may help you to find better housing by showing relators and landlords that you would be a reliable tenant/homeowner.

Read More

Posted by in News

Expunge a DUI Arrest in Orlando


Florida dui arrest photo by Stephen C. Webster

Orlando is popularly known as theme park and tourist central, attracting over 50 million tourist a year, which is almost 10 million more tourist than New York receives per year. What many visitors fail to keep in mind while on vacation is that they are still responsible for their behavior and the consequences of their actions. If you are caught drinking and driving, you will be given a DUI, which could leave you with an offense on your criminal record. The DUI will stay on your criminal record until you actively have the DUI expunged.

Getting a DUI in Orlando could result in a misdemeanor or a felony on your criminal record, and having to pay fines and restitution depending on:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time the breathalyzer was given
  • The number of times you have been cited with a DUI, with fines and jail time increasing with every DUI given
  • If there was property damage incurred while driving under the influence
  • If anyone was injured or died as a result of you driving under the influence

How to Expunge your DUI in Orlando

If you were a resident of Orlando or just visiting during the time of your DUI, you will still have to petition for the DUI expungement with the same courthouse that oversaw the hearing for your DUI. Fortunately, even if you are no longer in the area, you can hire an Orlando based attorney to file the petition and all court documents for you. The attorney will also be able to go to court for you so that you may not have to return to Orlando at all during the DUI expungement process.

If you have a DUI in Orlando, the best way to have the offense expunged from your criminal record is to hire an experienced expungement attorney who is licensed to practice law by the Florida State Bar. While you always have the option to file motion for the DUI expungement on your own, hiring an expungement attorney is a worthwhile investment.

When choosing an attorney to represent you for your

Read More

Posted by in Articles

Applying for a Pardon in Florida

Not all cases are eligible for expungement; however, there is another option that may be beneficial. Seeking a pardon in the state where your conviction occurred may the best solution to receive criminal record relief.

In order to apply for a pardon, there are certain requirements that may need to be met and certain application procedures. This information can be found in great detail at If you are applying for a pardon in Florida, below you will find the eligibility requirements and process for applying.

To be eligible for a pardon:

  • Ten years must have passed since completion of sentence
  • Must have paid all outstanding fines, penalties, etc. in regards to criminal cases or traffic violations that total more than $1,000.00.
  • You may ask for a waiver on the aforementioned requirements, if and only if two years have passed since you were convicted and you do not currently owe any restitution. You cannot ask for a waiver until you have served at least 1/3 of your sentence; however, the Governor can waive these requirements if there is “compelling need” such as terminal illness, imminent deportation, etc.
  • Must have either a misdemeanor case or felony case on your record.

To apply for a pardon:

  • Apply through the Clemency Board at: or call the Clemency Board at 850-488-2952. You may also send a written request to:
    • Office of Executive Clemency, 2601 Blair Stone Road
      Building C, Room 244
      Tallahassee, FL 32399.
  • Prepare supporting documents, letters of reference, and a personal statement
  • Obtain your criminal history report through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by calling 850-410-8109
  • Send Application Form to the Office of Executive Clemency
Read More