I pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute (less than 1 gram) on the premise that my attorney guaranteed me would be reduced to a misdemeanor but In my background checks it is showing up as a felony. What can I do to get this corrected or even expunged?
You will have to withdraw your plea, if no more then 30 days have passed or appeal your case. If you got a withhold of adjudication and are otherwise eligible you may be able to seal your charge. You should meet with a criminal defense lawyer to see if any of the things I have mentioned are in fact, an option.
The answer depends on whether the background checks are incorrect or your lawyer was incorrect. If the lawyer was incorrect, and the result truly was a felony conviction, see Ms. Hill’s advice above. If the background checks are incorrect—and I have seen this occur with regard to pleading to a lesser offense—the procedure below applies.
Assuming the error is on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) criminal history report, the practical first step is to contact the arresting agency, such as the county sheriff’s office if that is who arrested you on the charge of possession of a controlled substance. Under the Florida Administrative Code, at Rule 11C-8.001(5), an individual believing his criminal history record to be incorrect or incomplete must contact the local law enforcement agency responsible for that part of the criminal record.
The law enforcement agency may work with the FDLE to make corrections or deletions. If it does not, Florida law provides for a method of petitioning for a special hearing panel to review the request in more detail. And then yet another appeal up to the FDLE, and then to a Circuit Court.
It all starts with establishing, in writing, a request to the arresting law enforcement agency. While you might do this part yourself, an attorney can help you craft the request for potentially better results. If the initial request is denied and you must begin petitioning for review, an attorney is highly recommended.
Assuming it was an error in the criminal history report, expunction is not the appropriate procedure. But if you do need to seek expunction because you have exhausted other avenues, that procedure typically begins with either (1) an application to the FDLE for a “certificate of eligibility” for expunction; or (2) a petition to the FDLE for expunction along with the endorsement of either the chief of the law enforcement agency or the state attorney.
Best of luck to you.
The information provided in this and other answers on Avvo are general in nature and limited to the facts as stated. The information provided in this and other answers on Avvo should not be construed as legal advice on which the reader relies without further consultation with an attorney. No attorney-client relationship is created on Avvo question & answer forums. This attorney is licensed and admitted to practice law in the State of Florida only.
You just got great advice from my colleagues. If you pled to the misdemeanor, the felony arrest will still show. You can seal your record if you were not convicted. Call me at 4075886714 if you have more questions as I practice in Orlando!
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