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In Florida can an arrest be expunged subsequent to successful completion of a PTD? I heard an arrest record could only be sealed

Miami Beach, FL |

I am not guilty of the charge I was arrested for and would like to go to trial, however, I cannot afford to pay my attorney the additional expense. He doesn't really seem to care about my case and is always on vacation. I want him to get the prosecutor to drop the charges, however, this will take effort by my attorney (discovering the truth, subpoenaing witnesses and potential witnesses), effort he seems unwilling to make. He is trying to push me into a PTD, but I view that as equivalent to an admission of guilt, and I am not willing to spend any more money on this nonsense case.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

You can not seal or even expunge a case until the case is officially closed. I don't know the particular facts of your case, however in some counties you can expunge a case after officially completing the terms of the program. In certain counties the best you will be able to do is seal the case. Beware that the best you will be able to do if you are found not guilty after trial is to seal the case. So depending on whether you can expunge the case (assuming no other criminal history) you need to consider everything carefully.

This is not intended to be an attorney-client relationship and is my opinion only. Consult with a local attorney for additional advice.

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Asker

Posted

It happened in Dade County. So, it seems that it may be better to do a PTD than go to trial because with a PTD the arrest can be expunged, but a not guilty after trial will at best result in sealing. I didn't know that! Thank you.

Asker

Posted

But, I guess a "victim" has to agree to a PTD.... So it's not all on my lawyer and the prosecutor. The case is misdemeanor battery.. and is total BS.

Posted

Pretrial Diversion is diverted prosecution, not an admission of guilt. You merely agree to fulfill conditions such as classes or community hours. In exchange for your successful completion, the state will drop the charges.

If you have no prior convictions and have never sealed or expunged a record before, you may expunge a case that has been dismissed for successful PTD.

Many people in your shoes the PTD. It doesn't mean you're guilty. You will never plead guilty if you accept and complete PTD.

All comments made by the attorney are mere statements of opinion and are not intended to be interpreted as legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship formed as a result of this comment.

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Posted

What if I have an expunged or sealed record in another state from 10 years ago (petit larceny not in Florida). I completed a PTD for that case and got the arrest expunged in that state. I was open to the PTD in that other case because the circumstances were different.

Eric Matthew Matheny

Eric Matthew Matheny

Posted

Then you cannot expunge your current charge. Florida law permits one expungement or sealing in your lifetime, regardless of where the prior expungement or sealing took place. However, that alone should not deter you from considering PTD. If you complete PTD, your charge disposition will show that the case was dismissed. You will not have a conviction on your record. The alternative to PTD (unless the state is outright willing to dismiss the case) is a trial by jury. I cannot advise you on that because I know nothing about your case and you previously stated that you have an attorney. All I can say is that I advise my clients to accept PTD when the alternative is a jury trial. Trials are risky, even the cases that are strong for the defense. It is frankly foolish to risk a conviction and jail or prison time (which is what the judge could legally give you if you are found guilty) when the alternative was a few classes, some community service hours, and a guaranteed dismissal of the charges.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Eric. This information and counsel is very helpful.

Posted

My colleagues are correct. You want to make sure that you really want to take the risk of going to trial. I know you feel you are not guilty but PTD is not an admission of guilt but rather a guaranteed no risk way of getting your case dropped. The good news you can get your case dropped after you finish the program.

Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or my firm. We would be more than happy to set up a free consultation if you call us at 407-228-3838 and specifically mention AVVO or email me at bill@thelawman.net and put AVVO in the subject line.

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Posted

Pre-trial diversion would not be an admission of guilt. And many people in your situation accept pre-trial diversion as a matter of convenience. Once you complete all the conditions of pre-trial diversion, your case should be administratively dismissed. Thus allowing you to then apply for an expungement.

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Posted

I will not beat a dead horse and talk about PTD as it appears that my colleagues have adequately covered that area. However, as it seems you are financially strapped you may want to be aware that taking depositions and/or subpoenaing witnesses (1) costs money (for depos) which will come out of your pocket and (2) may not be the best way to the prosecutor's heart. In fact, if and/or when your defense counsel starts down that path the PTD may be off the table as far as the state is concerned.

Perhaps your attorney is merely looking out for your best interests in an attempt to keep the best possible deal on the table.

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Posted

Well, I already paid the lawyer $15,000 (yes you read that right) in full. I can't believe the worm will charge me for depos and subpoenas. I wasn't offered a PTD yet, my lawyer said the prosecutor probably hasn't even opened my file, but he said that it would be the best option. I just viewed it as him being lazy and the easiest option for the lawyer. And I paid $2000 to another lawyer who did nothing, prior this lawyer. I spent 6 days in jail as the charge was originally a felony.

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