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Sealing Or Expunging Your Criminal Record – How To Protect Yourself

By Richard Littlejohn www.novinite.com Even after scoring twice in England’s clinical World Cup qualifying victory over Croatia this week, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could not have expected a more ecstatic homecoming on Merseyside than that which greeted Michael Shields. The Bishop of Liverpool led the celebrations over the release of Mr Shields, who was given a royal pardon four years after being convicted of the attempted murder of a barman in Bulgaria. It was the culmination of a concerted campaign by the football fan’s family and friends. Mr Shields, who was in Bulgaria watching Liverpool win the Champions League final, has always maintained that he was fast asleep in his hotel room when a slab of concrete was dropped on the head of barman Martin Georgiev during a drunken fracas.Despite protesting his innocence, Mr Shields was found guilty and jailed for 15 years. This was later commuted to ten years by the Bulgarian Supreme Court, and he was allowed to return to Britain to serve the rest of the sentence. At the time of the trial, another man, Liverpool electrician Graham Sankey, admitted to the attack after being visited by two members of the Shields family.Sankey issued a written confession through his lawyer, but it was ruled inadmissible by the Bulgarian court. He has a string of public order convictions and last year, on Merseyside, he was jailed for racially aggravated harassment.His confession was a matter of public record when, as recently as this July

There are a lot of record sealing and expungement services available, which is a great thing for you, the consumer, since the existence of choice and competition make these services much more affordable. However, it is often difficult to know from a website alone if you are dealing with a reputable company. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself. If you follow most or all of the below suggestions, you will be able to identify the companies with bad reputations or complaints and be in a better position to make an informed choice about various service providers.

Protect Yourself With These Tips

Visit consumer complaint sites. Be wary of using the services of a company or individual that has a lot of written or filed consumer complaints.
Visit the Better Business Bureau. If a company has a lot of complaints and a low rating, stay away.
Consider hiring an experienced attorney. Rates are similar to non-attorney services, and you get the benefit of someone who is licensed to practice law (and record sealing/expungement is a legal process). In case you have to appear in court, you may not want to end up there alone.
Caveat to #3, make sure the attorney is licensed and has an office in your state.
There is no money back guarantee if your case is denied. Lawyers familiar with Florida law, or the law in your state, should be able to determine your eligibility before you have to pay and are willing to assume the risk if they were wrong.
The company wants you to apply for a pardon or directs you to other services. Unlike getting a record sealed or expunged, obtaining a pardon is a very difficult task and not many are granted. Beware of companies that tell you otherwise.
Do NOT pay extra to have your record sealing or expungement request expedited! This cannot be done in most states. In Florida, for example, neither the FDLE nor the courts accept extra payment for expedited services; they handle requests on a first-come first-serve basis. Which means if someone is asking you for money to “speed up” the process, they are just asking for more money for themselves since the only thing they can control is the speed of their own work!

Sealing or expunging a record can be a great investment in your future, and if you follow the above advice, you can be assured that you are on the right path to having a clear past!


Karen Kilpatrick is a Florida expungement attorney dedicated to helping people leave past mistakes where they belong – in the past!  If you want to learn if you are eligible to expunge or seal your record, or just learn more about the process, visit http://ExpungeRecordFlorida.com.


Article from articlesbase.com

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