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Discussion Starter #1
I recently discovered by chance through an internet search that I have a criminal record with a misdemeanor class A in Florida. The record seems to be 4 years old. The thing is that I did not know about it at all.
I'm a European citizen (living in Europe) and I visited Florida 5 years ago. First of all I need to say that I didn't commit what I am apparently accused for! One day I was walking on the sidewalk and the police stopped me. They checked my ID and said they are looking for a suspect who looks similar to me. So, they checked my ID and said everything is OK and that was it. I was NOT arrested NOR taken to the police station. NO fingerprints or photographs were taken and I did NOT have to pay a fine. I have never been to court either. Soon (maybe a week) after this I left the US. I guess the criminal record has something to do with this ID check, since it was the only time I have ever been in contact with the police.
How can I have a criminal record? Can I be convicted for something and not know about it. Can they convict me while I'm absent (back in Europe).
I don't really understand this record but might it be that this record exists because I was a suspect but I was not convicted?
Also, it seems that the crime that this record is about falls into the category of 'moral turpitude' crimes. After this incident I have travelled to the US many times always ticking the box on the arrival/departure form that I have never committed any moral turpitude crime. I have never had any problems at the border!
Now I want to apply for a visa but I don't know if I should mention this on the application since I have no papers about this to show at the embassy... Since I have never had any problems at the border in the last years, I thought that this whole record might be sort of wrong or that the record does not indicate that I was convicted.
Can anyone help me with this issue?
Thanks!
 

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No. I did not sign anything!
So, you don't seem to have much in the way of your due process Constitutional rights! And even though your rights are non-existent when at the border, once you've entered you have the right to know about any charges against you and defend yourself under the Fifth: nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

It's certainly risky to enter again without clearing this up. I'd suggest the only practical way you are going to do this is with the services of a local attorney. DIY is going to require an awful lot of studying.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your answer!
I don't know much about laws and rights...
What are these due process constitutional rights?
Do you think it is possible at all that I can be convicted although I have never been arrested or been in court?
 

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Thanks for your answer!
I don't know much about laws and rights...
What are these due process constitutional rights?
Do you think it is possible at all that I can be convicted although I have never been arrested or been in court?
The right means that you have to be know about the charges against you and get the opportunity to defend yourself.

It's certainly possible to be convicted without knowing about it. However, it shouldn't be too difficult to get the judgment reversed. You may still need to answer the charges, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, if I don't know about the charges are they still valid?
I guess I would need to hire an attorney to get the judgement reversed... Do you have any idea how much that would cost me?
Thanks again for the information!!!
 

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So, if I don't know about the charges are they still valid?
I guess I would need to hire an attorney to get the judgement reversed... Do you have any idea how much that would cost me?
Thanks again for the information!!!
Try find a small law firm in the vicinity of the court. Avoid the big-advert ambulance chaser ones. Negotiate fees before you start. It's going to cost you more than beer money.

It makes little difference whether the charges are valid or not if you're arrested on entry. If you're planning on re-entering the US, it's going to be far easier to sort it out at your convenience without the hassle of being detained as you step off the plane. Of course, if you plan on never visiting again, you can just forget it.
 

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So, if I don't know about the charges are they still valid?
I guess I would need to hire an attorney to get the judgement reversed... Do you have any idea how much that would cost me?
Thanks again for the information!!!
Funny that .. The advertisement under your last post

Florida Expungement-$359
Hire an attorney to seal/expunge your Florida arrest record!
Florida Criminal Record Expungement Attorney - $359!
 

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Personally, I expect it is a different person with the same name or just some nonsense. I would not start with an attorney. I would contact the district in Florida where the record supposedly exists, and request a copy of the whole file. You can easily do this by internet/email these days. You'll have to pay a small fee for the record. They will request personal info to make sure you are the party involved. I would bet that this in itself will show that it is not you.

You cannot be "convicted" and have arecord if you have never have even been arrested.
 
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