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Q:     The county I live in posted all of my personal information about a case I’m currently trying to resolve.  I was recently charges with a felony in my county and they have posted… Scroll down to read more!

Q:     The county I live in posted all of my personal information about a case I’m currently trying to resolve.  I was recently charges with a felony in my county and they have posted every piece of information pertaining to my case on a county website which is viewable to the public. This includes by booking/arrest paperwork mug shot my home address every motion filed every date I have ever shown up to court the case discovery and much much more. Is this legal ? Or should I obtain a lawyer to help me get this information removed. I was given adjudication withheld on the case but with all the information posted on the county website it’s practically impossible for me to find gainful employment! 

A:     Chosen as “Best Answer” by Asker on www.AVVO.com
Answered Welcome to the digital age.

You have no privacy interest in either your arrest or prosecution record.

This is true both while your case is pending and to a large extent even afterward.

You can hire 1,000 lawyers but the information will remain both public and available to the public as a matter of public records unless and until it is either sealed or expunged (and even then it will never be truly “erased”).

If you received a withhold, and if it is not a disqualified offense and you are not a disqualified offender then you can petition to have the record sealed.

Sealing is available in a case where you received a withhold of adjudication, and expunction is available in a case which was dismissed, nolle pros’d, no actioned or where you were found to have been not guilty. In Florida you can only seal or expunge one eligible (non-disqualified) offense in your lifetime.

If you look at the following website you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the sealing / expunction process:

http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/content/getdoc/c83dd888-ef7a-448e-9a96-ba69fc4181f7/Seal-and-Expunge-Home.aspx 
I also strongly encourage you to both read my AVVO Legal Guide on Sealing and Expunging Records in FL and watch my YouTube Webisode on Sealing / Expnging records as they both contain valuable information supplemental to this answer and should prove to be helpful to you. For your convenience the both links follow and are attached at the bottom of this answer:

Please see: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/sealing-and-expunging-records-in-fl-a-legal-guide-by-michael-a-haber-esq-miami-criminal-lawyer?published=true


Please see: https://youtu.be/XtndMiwCP84

The procedure is both quite detailed and somewhat painstaking but is also far from being rocket science. You can attempt to navigate it yourself (FDLE has tried to simplify it – again I refer you to the website above) but, assuming your eligibility, any criminal defense lawyer (anywhere in Florida – this can be done remotely and does not necessarily require a local attorney, although a local attorney may or may not be less expensive) will be able to accomplish the task with greater ease and likely in a shorter time period.

That said I suspect that it doesn’t much matter where you were arrested, what you were arrested for, what the final disposition was or whether or not you sealed / expunged the record. This is 2015 and we are forehead deep into the internet age, where nothing is private, sacred or truly hidden from public scrutiny.

Sadly, sealing (and expunging) only applies to certain (not even to all) government agencies (for example if fingerprints, mugshots, DNA or anything else – including crime statistics bearing your name or identifying information – were uploaded to the FBI database then a local Order of Expunction would not effect the Feds) and that it has no effect whatsoever on private (er, extortionist) enterprise, who compile and maintain arrest information and then demand that you pay them off to remove your information from their database and public access. Worse still, after you “buy back your information”, then you can count on there being another private company lurking, somewhere, sometime, somehow, just waiting for you to pay them off as well. Its a seemingly never-ending vicious cycle.

For better or for worse you are probably best advised to take the wind out of the sails by admitting your past issues / indiscretions to your present (or potential) employer, lender, landlord, etcetera, rather than waiting for them to find out on their own.

I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)
Social Media:  It’s all fun and nice until it’s introduced into evidence against you in Court. See “Haber’s Rules of Social Media # 1 – 5” at: http://habercriminallaw.blogspot.com/2015/02/social-media-and-criminal-justice.html

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. “Its all about reasonable doubt”!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


THIS BLOG POST (AS ARE ALL OF HABERPA BLOG POSTS) IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT WHICH IS PRIMARILY DESIGNED, BY WAY OF REAL WORLD EXAMPLE, TO ASSIST THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN AVOIDING CONDUCT WHICH COULD FORESEEABLY RESULT IN ARREST AND PROSECUTION!  


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Michael A. Haber

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "it's all about reasonable doubt"! Whether in State or Federal Courts, Michael A. Haber, P.A. strives to ensure that his client's rights are respected and that his clients receive top-tier legal representation and counsel. For more than a quarter of a century I have striven to make Michael A. Haber, P.A. a business that custom tailors its services to meet the needs of the client. This incorporates such things as (but is not limited to) doing my best to meet clients at their convenience (as opposed to mine), in locations and at times which are mutually convenient (sometimes at their homes, places of business, independent ground - having free wifi and excellent coffee any Dunkin Donuts always works for me - and occasionally even at odd hours), structuring fees to reasonably accommodate the parties, making myself personally available to the client as close to 24/7 as is possible and, perhaps most importantly, giving careful and comprehensive consideration to both micro and macro issues in a given case so as to be able to agree upon and effort toward a viable litigation objective. This is why I refer to Michael A. Haber, P.A. proudly providing "boutique criminal defense litigation" (being "a small company that offers highly specialized services"), and this is a large part of Michael A. Haber, P.A.'s mission statement Accordingly, Michael A. Haber, P.A. has provided personalized and boutique legal services to both individuals and entities, primarily in the South Florida area, since 1991. With no history of professional discipline whatsoever, Michael A. Haber, Esq. zealously advocates his client's interests and custom tailors his services to meet each client's particular situation, needs and desires. Toward that end Michael A. Haber, Esq. makes himself directly available to his clients whether in person, over the phone (305-381-8686 or Toll Free 1-888-SHARK-8-1), by cell, verbally or text (305-798-2220), by e-mail ([email protected]) on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/haberpa ), on Twittter, (@Sharkjy910) on AOL/IM (Sharky910), and also why I consistently add information to the public on both the Michael A. Haber, P.A. Criminal Michael A Haber PA Criminal DUI Defense Litigation Miami Blog (http://www.habercriminallaw.blogspot.com/) and with my "Webisode" series on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/c/MichaelHaberLaw), whcih currently features 222 briegf VideoFAQ's on a variety of Criminal Defense, DUI and BUI related topics. When you hire Michael A. Haber, P.A. you get Michael A. Haber, Esq.! And remember, at HaberPA, it's all about reasonable doubt!
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