TAVARES, Florida—Lake County residents with minor criminal histories have a unique opportunity to quickly and efficiently expunge or seal their record Saturday if they qualify, at the first-ever Sealing and Expungement clinic offered here.
Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida is teaming up with the Lake County Bar Association and Lake Young Lawyers Division to offer this free 4-hour clinic scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lake County Courthouse, 550 West Main Street, Tavares. Lawyers and representatives from numerous government agencies will be on hand to help participants navigate through the process, which often can be difficult to do on their own or expensive to hire a private attorney, said Taylor Tremel, an attorney who will be available on-site Saturday, to help. Lake County Clerk of Court Gary Cooney is waiving certain fees and providing the space for the clinic, Tremel said.
Tremel, who has served as an assistant state attorney and a public defender, is now in private practice with the firm Bowen & Schroth in Eustis and is enthusiastic about being a part of this program. “We saw that there was a need, and I thought it was a worthwhile thing to take on” he told Inside Lake.
“This brings everybody together under one roof to help and answer questions. It’s not very often all these groups get together to do something like this,” Tremel said.
Many crimes are not eligible to be sealed or expunged, including violent offenses, Tremel said. If a person was adjudicated guilty for a crime, they are not eligible either.
Participants’ criminal case must have occurred in Lake County to partake in the event and are asked to pre-register at Clinic Screening (legalserver.org) and those who do, may qualify for assistance with the $75 Florida Department of Law Enforcement application fee. Tremel said participants should not overstate their income or overrepresent how much money they have in the bank.
Tremel is hoping for a large turnout Saturday, “It’s a really awesome event,” he said. “I think it’s something that can be done annually.”