OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER 12th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT of FLORIDA LARRY L. EGER, Public Defender Serving, DeSoto, Manatee, & Sarasota Counties
Consequences of an Arrest and / or Conviction
- Any time you arrested, your fingerprints and booking photo are provided to law enforcement. This includes the FBI database. They can also appear on the local law enforcement pages, Florida Department of Corrects website, Google searches and private websites. This is true even if the case is eventually dismissed.
- Court records, including information about your arrest, is not confidential.
- Depending on the charge and disposition of your case, there is no guarantee that you will be able to seal and expunge your criminal record.
- Even if you are able to seal or expunge your record in your state, the information sent to the FBI database is never erased. The FBI does not seal or expunge records.
- If you resolve your case for a fine or court costs and fail to pay them, your driver’s license can be suspended until the amount is paid. You can then get new charges for driving on a suspended license. If you do not pay, or make some type of arrangement to pay, you cannot get a hardship license.
- “Credit for time served” is a conviction. It does not mean your case was dropped or dismissed. It means there is now a conviction in your criminal history.
- Criminal histories are used in job searches, apartment leases, and in screenings for school volunteers. A conviction, even for a misdemeanor offense, can prevent you from getting a job, apartment, or volunteering at your child’s school.
- Any type of criminal conviction can affect government benefits such as Section 8 housing, vouchers, social security insurance, and food stamps, among others.
- Even if you receive a withhold of adjudication for your charge, the case will still show on your record. It is not the same as a dismissal.
- If you receive a withhold of adjudication for your charge you are still required to give a DNA sample for any felony offense.
- Several types of charges, felony, misdemeanor, and criminal traffic can result in a driver’s license suspension. This is true even if the charge you were arrested for has nothing to do with driving a car.
- Convictions for both felonies and misdemeanors may prevent you from military service, future jobs with law enforcement, profession licensing for jobs such as security and nursing, and from obtaining a concealed weapons permit.
- Convictions for certain offenses can block your financial aid for college or void your scholarship.
- Convictions for felonies can prevent you from voting, holding public office, possessing a firearm and obtaining a concealed weapons license.
- All prior convictions can be listed on the Florida Criminal Scoresheet to enhance a sentence if you commit another crime.
- Felonies and crimes of dishonesty (such as petit theft) can be used against you if you are ever called to testify in a case, including your case or another’s case. This includes civil cases that have nothing to do with a criminal offense.
- If you are not a United States citizen, whether you are convicted or adjudication is withheld, you could face immigration consequences including deportation or denial of permanent residency.
- Entering a plea to a sex-related crime can result in registration for life, restrictions on housing and may even subject you to civil involuntary commitment proceedings which could result in your being locked up in a prison hospital setting indefinitely after your sentence is completed.