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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 19933
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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Good Afternoon, I am trying to apply with a Florida district

Customer Question

Good Afternoon,
I am trying to apply with a Florida district to become a teacher. In 1997, I wrote three worthless checks. One of them was a misdemeanor, the other two were felony offenses. There were two court trials that I had to attend to resolve the misdemeanor and felony. I pled no contest to the misdemeanor and received a withheld adjudication. I completed probation and paid restitution. I received legal representation for the felonies and my attorney was able to get the offenses reduced to first degree misdemeanors and again I pled no contest and adjudication was withheld. 15 years later, I have not repeated my mistakes, graduated college and maintained employment at my current job for 7 years. My dream has always been to teach. I received a status of eligibility by the Florida Department of Education to receive a certificate however now when I apply to teach with this particular county, they advised me that I am ineligible because I was convicted of a felony. My questions are as follows. If my felony was reduced to a misdemeanor, at worst, would I be considered guilty of the misdemeanors? Also, I paid for a criminal background check before applying for teaching jobs and while nothing shows up on my background, I openly disclose my transgressions to demonstrate the honesty and integrity that I now have 15 years later. Is there anything that I can do legally to clear my record or should I altogether give up on my hopes of teaching? Thank you for your help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

If you were ultimately convicted of a misdemeanor, not a felony, then the fact that you were charged with a felony shouldn't make a difference. What matters is the conviction. If you completed a program where adjudication is withheld, that means there is no conviction. However, some employers ask for information on withheld adjudications in addition to convictions.

To obtain an expunction, Florida law unfortunately requires a certificate of eligibility. Fl. Stat., Section(NNN) NNN-NNNN/a>. A certificate of eligibility requires either that no charges were filed or that they were dismissed. A person who has adjudication withheld is not eligible.

You can, however, apply for a pardon from the Office of Executive
Clemency. If you are able to get a pardon, it may then be possible to have the records removed, because a pardon is official forgiveness. Here is more information:
https://fpc.state.fl.us/Clemency.htm

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much for your help. To clarify, if I pled no contest and adjudication was withheld on both charges, this is the same as a conviction correct?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
Lucy was very helpful but not available for my response.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I apologize for the delay; I was called away unexpectedly.

Pleading no contest and having adjudication withheld is treated as a conviction for purposes of requesting an expungement, which is why it's not permitted. Usually, though, the conviction is not entered, so a person who had adjudication withheld was not convicted of the crime. Look at Fl. Stat., Section 948.04. The plea is entered, the probation is completed, and the case is done. No conviction.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 19933
Experience: Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
Lucy, Esq. and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thank you so much for your help Lucy! You have no idea how bad all of this makes me feel. It feels good to know that maybe there is a spec of hope in my situation. Thank you for giving me some direction in this ordeal!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome and good luck.

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