How to Expunge Your Criminal Records in Florida

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The Sunshine State may not be so sunny when you have a past criminal record on your shoulders. Furthermore, Florida’s law enforcement agencies and courts make it simple for anyone to access your criminal records. If you ask anyone who has been arrested in Florida, they’ll tell you how difficult it can be to achieve important things in life like get a job, travel, or find a decent home. In Florida, you can only expunge your criminal records if you have no past convictions, regardless of when or where the conviction occurred.

If you qualify to get your criminal records expunged, you have the opportunity for a fresh start in life. A new beginning can be a great investment of your time and money.

The Benefits of Expunging Your Criminal Records

The primary benefit of expunging your criminal records is that, under Florida law, you can legally fail to acknowledge the arrests and convictions under the expunged record.

Other benefits of expunging your criminal records include:

  • If you hold a professional certificate or license, the expungement will help you retain those certificates and licenses.
  • An expungement can potentially impact positively on your credit rating.
  • An expungement enables you to legally state on your job application that you’ve never been convicted of a criminal offense.

The Process of Record Expungement in Florida

Record expungement can be a complicated process. Any small mistakes on the petition could force you to begin the process all over again. That’s why it’s wise to involve an experienced expungement attorney in Florida to represent you and ensure that everything is done correctly from the beginning. Again, ensure that the attorney provides an option to clear your records beyond the courtroom. Most often, criminal records are kept by many online background check companies who must be notified that your records have been expunged by the courts; otherwise, they’ll keep your records in their systems for years.

Certificate of Eligibility

The first step towards expunging your criminal records is to verify your eligibility by obtaining a certificate of eligibility. You’re required to complete section A of the application and sign it before a notary public. An authorized law enforcement officer will take your fingerprints and submit a properly completed fingerprints form together with the application. A certified disposition of the case that you want to expunge must also be obtained from the clerk of the court where the charges were brought. In some cases, you may be required to provide a copy of Termination of Probation with a nonrefundable method of payment.

The next step is to have a state attorney or prosecutor complete section B of your application. If your application has any missing portions, it will be returned or unprocessed. You will also need to complete a declaration indicating how the conviction has hurt your career and job opportunities, your future plans, training and education, social and religious affiliations, and how your life has completely turned around.

What Happens when Your Application for a Certificate of Eligibility is Denied

If you have reasons to believe that your certificate of eligibility was a mistake, you can request a review. Sometimes the denial may be based on inaccurate or incomplete criminal history information, so you must follow the review process and have those records corrected as detailed under the Florida laws. However, if you have reasons to believe that your criminal records are correct but the law was incorrectly applied to your case, you can appeal the decision through an expungement attorney.

Final Verdict

Expunging a criminal record is a complex process that requires the assistance of a reputable Florida criminal defense attorney. Any slight mistakes on your application could result in denial or unnecessary delays in your case. The Chamberlin Law Firm provides quality, client-centered legal services in Florida. If you’re accused and charged with any criminal offense ranging from traffic crimes and misdemeanor to serious felony offenses, contact us today for professional legal representation or criminal record expungement.

Can You Be Punished for Suspicion of Drunk Driving?

Driving your car under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is considered a criminal offense in the United States. In Florida, DUI is considered a severe crime that can attract heavy fines. What happens if you are pulled over for a DUI test, and you refuse to take the blood, urine, or breathalyzer test as requested by the officer on duty? Are you guilty? Will you have committed an offense by refusing to cooperate with the officer?

The Federal law in the US states that a citizen is always presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Therefore, no citizen can be charged merely upon an officer’s suspicion that he or she has committed a criminal offense.

Application of Implied Consent

If a traffic officer suspects that you are driving your car under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the law requires you to take a chemical test by either breathe, blood, or urine to establish your actual blood alcohol content (BAC).

The implied consent laws dictate that you agree to take the necessary chemical tests required to assess your blood alcohol content as long as you are on the road driving. According to Florida DUI regulations, you are committing a criminal offense if you are driving a car with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or more.

The Blood-Alcohol Content Test in Florida

In Florida, the officer is required to establish your BAC level by breathalyzer. The officer will administer the test and show the test results. A breathalyzer refers to a unique device specifically designed to measure your blood-alcohol concentration level using your breath.

There is a permitted legal limit, and if your concentration goes beyond the set limit, then the police officer is required to arrest you. For a first-time offender, a DUI will cost you at least $1,000, at least 50 hours of community service and at least a month in jail based your BAC concentration level. You may pay higher penalties in Florida if your BAC level is beyond 0.15.

What Happens if You Refuse to Take the DUI Test?

The state law in Florida considers driving as a privilege and not your democratic right. The moment you sign your driving license, you agree to implied consent as discussed above. Therefore, it becomes mandatory for you to undertake the various chemical tests to find out whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving.

It is your right to decline a simple breathalyzer test, but the penalties may be much more massive and possibly worse than if you were found guilty. Such an action could lead to instant revocation of your driving license and may still be admitted in court.

Are You Facing a DUI Charge?

Don’t worry if you are facing DUI charges since Chamberlin Law Firm is here to help you. Contact us today at (813) 444-4777, and we will gladly take over your case. Hunter Chamberlin is experienced in identifying potential issues in DUI cases to provide the best possible defense that will most likely lead to a favorable outcome.

Hunter Chamberlin Speaks with Russell Rhodes on Fox 13’s Ask a Lawyer Program on the Statue of Limitations on Sexual Abuse in Tampa FL

Hunter Chamberlin spoke with Fox 13’s Russell Rhodes to answer legal questions on the statue of limitations on sexual abuse in Tampa Florida as a part of the Ask-A-Lawyer segment. Hunter in the video above speaks on the statue of limitations in a case where Larry Nassar who pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area was sentenced 40-175 years in prison. Hunter and other Fox 13 Tampa Bay lawyers were standing by this month with legal expertise on the statue of limitations on sexual abuse. This free program allows Fox 13 Tampa Bay viewers to call a lawyer with their legal questions. If you know someone who is facing criminal charges, contact Hunter today for a free consultation at 813-839-1300 or via email at


What to Do When Arrested for Drug Offense in Florida

In Florida, drug possession is categorized into two; ‘without intent’ and ‘with intent’ to supply. Although each has its own set of penalties and regulations, they are both criminal offenses, and regardless of the category you’re in, you should seek legal advice for your specific situation. Understanding your rights and limitations will not only help know how to carry yourself during the trial, but also ensure that you receive fair legal treatment. Here is what you should do if you are arrested for drug offense in Florida:

Protect Yourself before Your Arrest

The Fourth Amendment protects every citizen against unlawful search and seizures. An officer should have a warrant, valid reasons, or an exigent circumstance to search you, your vehicle, or property. However, if your situation is serious and they insist to use drug-sniffing dog or detain you long enough for the K9 unit to arrive, respectfully comply. Do not physically resist or try to fight the police, let them search.

Do Remain Calm When Arrested

Being arrested on drug charges can be upsetting and often lead to self-loathing, guilt, depression, fear and a feeling of defeat. Refuse to give in to such feelings, wait calmly, and be adamant on respect for your rights. In truth, the 5th Amendment guards your right to remain silent, and although the police will still ask you questions (even after asking for the right to an attorney) you do not have to answer. Whatever you say can and will be used against you in court proceedings. Here are other things you should never do:

  • Confess to the drug offense
  • Name-drop
  • Offer to cooperate against others
  • Try to talk your way out of it

Demand to Speak to Your Lawyer

Use it or lose it. After the arrest, you have a right to have an attorney-whether you can afford one or not. It is highly essential to retain a seasoned lawyer with whom you can be comfortable and trust to handle your case best.

Consider the Advice of Your Lawyer

Your attorney will recommend a course of action upon arrival. Be as detailed and honest as possible about your interactions with the police and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. With this information, your lawyer will build a feasible defense to ensure that you get a fair trial.

Let Hunter Chamberlin Help You!

The Chamberlin Law Firm is here to offer exclusive services if you’re arrested for drug possession. Hunter Chamberlin is dedicated to providing quality, client-centered legal services to ensure that you receive personalized attention. With vast knowledge and experience, Hunter Chamberlin will identify potential issues in your case to provide a strong defense and maximize the chances of a successful outcome.

Fight your drug possession charges. Call our office today at (813)- 444-4777 to schedule an appointment or consultation.

5 Things to Know If You Are Charged with a Robbery Offense in Florida

Robbery is a serious offense, and if you’ve been charged with a robbery in Florida, you could be looking at some long jail time. If violence or force was involved in stealing someone else’s property, then you could be charged with a robbery. Robbery charges in Florida come with a maximum of 30 years in state prison. Here are 5 things to know about robbery offenses in Florida:

1. There Are Different Kinds of Robbery Charges

Not all kinds of robbery charges are the same. Let’s look at the different kinds of robbery charges and the specifics of each charge:

  • Robbery: Robbery is a 2nd Degree felony in Florida, and carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
  • Armed Robbery w/Weapon: The use of a weapon in a robbery makes the charge a 1st degree felony, and carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
  • Armed Robbery w/Deadly Weapon: The use of a deadly weapon during a robbery also means it is a 1st degree felony, and can carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

2. Robberies Comes in Many Variations

There are a multitude of crimes that are considered to be variations of robbery in Florida, including carjacking, robbery with a firearm, robbery with a deadly weapon, home invasion robbery, and sudden snatching.

3. Robberies Can Include Additional Penalties

Additional penalties that can come with a robbery charge include community service, up to $10,000 in fines, the loss of some kinds of certifications, probation/parole, as well as a permanent criminal record.

4. Those Facing a Robbery Charge or Investigation Should Seek an Experienced Attorney

If you have been charged with a robbery or are under an investigation for one, contact Hunter Chamberlain, a Defense Attorney based in Tampa, FL. With a background as a prosecutor for the Florida State Attorneys’ office, Hunter brings his vast experience to his criminal cases, figuring out the best way to build an effective defense for his clients.

5. Hunter’s Experience as A Prosecutor Makes Him an Effective Defense Attorney

Hunter’s time at the Florida State Attorneys’ office means he knows how prosecutors work, so he’ll know to build the best defense against the prosecutor in your robbery case. Get an effective defense today by contacting Hunter Chamberlain for a free consultation, online or by calling (813)444-4777.

Why Is It So Important to Have a Good Criminal Defense Attorney on Hand?

If you have been arrested and are facing charges in the state of Florida, you are likely to go up against a seasoned and determined State Prosecutor. Even if you are confident you can prove your innocence, the Prosecutor can still use his or her knowledge of the law and the legal system to deliver a result that will not be favorable to you. You may save time and money forgoing legal representation, but the total cost of being convicted is much greater.

Negotiations and Plea Bargains

A defense attorney will work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate an arrangement when you are facing long jail terms or severe penalties. A prosecutor is much less likely to go into negotiations with a defendant who is representing himself. That means having representation can significantly reduce the risks.


Even if you are found guilty, there is still room for a criminal defense attorney to negotiate for more lenient sentencing. This can mean shorter prison terms, suspension of sentences, probation, and lesser fines. Without representation, this type of leniency is much less likely to be extended to a convicted person.

Perception vs Reality

During this very trying time, you are certain to be emotionally distressed and volatile. This means it will be much more difficult to maintain your composure and to think clearly while navigating all of the ins and outs of the legal system. A criminal defense attorney has more objectivity than you- and will understand the territory.

Technicalities & Loopholes

A criminal defense attorney will know all of the available legal loopholes and technicalities of the law and can cite the right loophole at the right time. Without extensive training and experience, you cannot hope to spot all of the available peculiarities of the law that a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense knows intimately.

Witness Statements

With the experience that a criminal defense attorney brings to the table, he can assemble critical proofs such as the statements of witnesses. Without professional representation, victim and witness statements can be totally inaccessible for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, a defense attorney can utilize private detectives, and expert witnesses to bolster your case.

The Hidden Costs of Pleading Guilty

If you are convicted, even if you receive a reduced penalty, you may lose your right to vote or own a firearm and may find worthwhile employment very difficult to obtain. Often, the quality of life of a convicted person is substantially reduced compared to what they are accustomed to. These ramifications can damage your earning potential substantially. That’s why hiring a criminal defense attorney is not just about clearing your name- it’s an investment that can radically affect your long-term well being.

To learn more about the benefits of hiring a professional criminal defense attorney, contact the law office of Chamberlin Law Firm immediately. If you are facing prosecution, you cannot afford to wait. Call 813-444-4777 to get in touch today, or click here for your free consultation, and let Hunter Chamberlin start building your case right now.


Hunter Chamberlin Speaks with Fox 13 on the Legal consequences of Swatting in Tampa FL

Hunter Chamberlin spoke with Fox 13’s Laura Moody to answer any legal questions on the legal consequences of swatting. Watch the video below about Florida law on the case of a suspect facing a felony charge of fatally ‘swatting’ man 1,400 miles away. Hunter and other Fox 13 Tampa Bay lawyers were standing by this month with legal advice. This free program allows Fox 13 Tampa Bay viewers to call a lawyer with their legal questions. If you know someone who is facing criminal charges, contact Hunter today for a free consultation at 813-839-1300 or via email at

The Fair Labor Standard ACT’s Executive, Administrative and Professional Exemption

Over the course of the 16 years I have been practicing law, I have often represented small business owners who have inadvertently run afoul of the federal minimum wage and overtime laws. Those laws are contained within the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Department of Labor has promulgated countless regulations interpreting, limiting, and expanding the FLSA. The result is a complicated set of laws and regulations with numerous exemptions and exceptions. Most small business owners simply do not have the time or resources to learn and understand these rules. It is therefore not surprising such businesses often find themselves embroiled in costly and burdensome litigation for failure to comply with some provision of the FLSA. While this article is certainly not an exhaustive treatise on every aspect of the FLSA law and its attendant regulations, hopefully it will provide some guidance to small business owners and help them avoid some of the common mistakes.

            One of the most common misconceptions a small business owner might have with respect to the FLSA is that if the employee is paid a salary, that employee is exempt from the FLSA requirements and the employer will not have to pay overtime for any hours the employee works in excess of 40 in any given week.[1] That is false. Simply because an employee is salaried, as opposed to hourly, does not itself exempt them from the minimum wage and overtime provisions. To clarify when overtime is required and when it is not, I will address (1) what the FLSA requires; (2) who is exempt from the FLSA (3) who is not exempt from the FLSA; and (4) how a salaried, non-exempt employee’s overtime wages are typically calculated.


The FLSA is codified at 28 USC 8. There are two main operative sections to the FLSA, §206 which pertains to the minimum wage, and §207 which pertains to overtime wages. Section 206 mandates that employers must pay their employees no less than a specified hourly amount per work week (defined as 40 hours). That amount is currently $7.25 an hour. Be aware, however, that many states have set a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage. Section 207 provides that employers may not employ employees who are engaged in commerce, or the production of goods for commerce, or employees who are employed in an enterprise engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce for longer than 40 hours per week unless the employee is paid one and half times their regular rate for each hour or portion of an hour in excess of 40.[2]


Within the FLSA are numerous exemptions where the minimum wage and overtime provisions are inapplicable. Such exemptions include, but are not limited to “any employee employed by an establishment which is an amusement or recreational establishment, organized camp, or religious or non-profit educational conference center” §213(a)(3); “any employee employed in the catching, taking, propagating, harvesting, cultivating, or farming of any kind of fish, shellfish, crustacea, sponges, seaweeds, or other aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life…” §213(a)(5); “any employee employed in connection with the publication of any weekly, semiweekly, or daily newspaper with a circulation of less than four thousand the major part of which circulation is within the county where published or counties contiguous thereto…” §213(a)(8); and “any switchboard operator employed by an independently owned public telephone company which has not more than seven hundred and fifty stations…” §213(a)(10).

However, the most common exemption, and the exemption that most often trips up small business owners, is the executive, administrative, or professional exception, codified at §213(a)(1) (“the 213(a)(1) exemptions”). The 213(a)(1) exemptions exempts from the minimum wage and overtime provisions any employee who is employed in a “a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity….” It also exempts academic administrative personnel, teachers in elementary or secondary schools, and outside sales personnel. Many small business owners erroneously believed their employees fall within the 213(a)(1) exceptions and thus require their employees to work in excess of 40 hours in any week but do not pay them anything additional for those hours. It is therefore critical for business owners to have a strong understanding of which employees are within the 213(a)(1) exemptions and which are not.

The Department of Labor (“the Department”) has promulgated rules interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act which elucidate who falls within and outside this exception. These regulations can provide valuable guidance to a business owner and help them avoid an FLSA violation.

a. Executive

In 29 C.F.R. 541.100, the Department defines “employee employed in a bona fide executive capacity.” In order to qualify for the executive exemption, the employee must meet four criteria. First, the employee must be paid on a salary basis in an amount set by a complicated formula. (Pursuant to §541.600(1), the current minimum salary is $913 per week.) Second, the employee’s primary duty must be management of the company or a department of the company. Third, the employee must regularly direct the work of two or more subordinates. Finally, the employee must either have the explicit authority to hire or fire other employees, or the ability to make recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, or promotion of other employees. If an employee lacks any one of the four criteria, that employee is not within the purview of the executive exemption.

b. Administrative

Section 541.200 pertains to the “administrative” exception. It defines “employee employed in a bona fide administrative capacity….” In order to qualify for the administrative exemption, the employee must meet three criteria. First, the employee must be paid a salary according to the same formula as the executive exemption. Second, the employee must be primarily engaged in “office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers…”   Finally, the employee’s duties must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment on important business matters. As with the executive exemption, lacking any one of these three criteria renders the employee non-exempt with respect to the administrative exemption.

c. Professional

Section 541.300 expounds on the “professional” exception. It defines “employee employed in a bona fide professional capacity” as someone who meets two criteria. First, the employee must be paid a salary according to the same formula as that of the executive and administrative exceptions. Second, the employee’s job duties must either require advanced knowledge in the field of science or learning acquired from extended specialized education. Alternatively, the employee’s job must require the “invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. If the employee meets both requirements, the employee is within the professional exemption.


Just as the Department of Labor has provided guidance as to employees for whom the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions do apply, the Department has also elucidated professions where the 13(a)(1) exemptions do not apply. According to §541(3)(a), the 13(a)(1) exemptions do not apply to “manual laborers or other “blue collar” workers who perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy.”

The Department’s rational is that these employees should be protected by the FLSA because they “gain the skills and knowledge required for performance of their routine manual and physical work through apprenticeships and on-the-job training, not through the prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction required for exempt learned professional employees….” Such employees include “non-management production-line employees and non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, construction workers and laborers….” Section 541(3)(b) provides another long list of professions who are outside the scope of the exemption, including police officers, probation officers, park rangers, fire fighters, and paramedics. According to the Department, these occupations are outside the scope of the exemption because these employees do not manage a business, they are not involved in work directly related to the management of a business, and their work does not require “knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction or the performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor….”


Applying the FLSA and Department regulations creates a category of employees who do not fall with the 13(a)(1) exemptions and thus are entitled to be paid overtime for any hour or portion thereof they work in excess of 40 in any given week. However, those employees may be paid a salary as opposed to an hourly wage, and they may work more than 40 hours only occasionally. So once an employee determines an employee is outside the scope of the exemption and thus entitled to overtime, how does the employer calculate what the overtime pay should be? According to the Department, an employer may use the Fluctuating Work Week (FWW) method to calculate the overtime to which the employee is entitled.

As the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida explained in Lewis v. Keiser Sch., Inc. (S.D. Fla., 2012), the employee must meet five criteria in order for the employer to be able to use the FWW method. First, the employee’s hours must fluctuate from week to week. Second, the employee must receive a fixed weekly salary that remains constant irrespective of the actual number of hours the employee works. Third, the amount the employee receives must be at least enough to pay the employee for all hours worked not less than the federal minimum wage. Fourth, the employee and employer must mutually understand that the employee will be paid a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours actually worked. Finally, the employee must be paid, in addition to the fixed salary, half his or her hourly wage for every hour or portion thereof in excess of forty in any given week.

            This prompts two important questions. First, we are discussing non-exempt salaried employees. How do we calculate the hourly wage of someone who is paid on a weekly basis? Secondly, the FLSA mandates that an employer must pay overtime at 150% of the hourly wage, yet the FWW requires only 50% of the hourly wage. Fortunately, the federal courts have clarified both issues. With respect to the hourly rate of a salaried employee, the United States Supreme Court explained that the “regular rate” is determined by dividing the number of hours actually worked by the weekly wage. See Overnight Motor Transportation Company v. Missel, 316 U.S. 572 (1942); See also Kohlheim v. Glynn County, Ga., 915 F.2d 1473, 1480 (11th Cir.1990). Consequently, if a salaried employee is paid $1,000.00 per week and works 45 hours in a given week, the employee’s “regular rate” would be $22.22 per hour ($1,000.00 divided by 45 hours). In that scenario, the employee would be entitled to be paid the regular $1,000.00 salary, plus an additional $111.10 for that week ($22.22 multiplied by the 5 hours in excess of 40 worked that week.)

So the overtime rate is determined, but why half-time instead of time-and-a-half? The Southern District of Florida answered that question in Torres v. Bacardi Global Brands Promotions, Inc., 482 F.Supp.2d 1379, 1381 (S.D. Fla., 2007). The Court explained that since the salaried employee is being paid a flat salary for all hours worked in a work week, irrespective how many hours that is, that salary includes payment for all hours in excess of 40 hours in a week. Consequently, as a result of the fixed salary arrangement, “a non-exempt employee who receives a weekly salary for all hours worked has, by definition, already been paid his “regular rate” for all hours worked in the workweek. Thus, a salaried employee is only owed half-time for any hours worked in excess of forty per workweek.” In other words, the non-exempt salaried employee is entitled to be paid 150% of their regular rate, but the salary constitutes the 100%, thus entitling the employee only to an additional 50%.

      Given the complexities of the FLSA, it can be very easy to run afoul of its provisions. Unfortunately, the FLSA contains very draconian punitive remedies for FLSA violations including full payment of unpaid overtime for up to three years, an equal amount in liquidated damages, and payment of the employee’s attorneys’ fees. Consequently, even a minor underpayment can result in a significant financial liability. Therefore, the best practice is to know the FLSA provisions and ensure you are in full compliance with those provisions. Hopefully, this article will help small business owners do just that.

[1] Another misconception is that an employer may escape the obligations of the FLSA simply by paying them a 1099 rather than a W-2 and designating the employee as an “independent contractor.” That is also false. I will address that misconception in another forthcoming article. Stay tuned.

[2] These provisions, like other sections of the FLSA and every other federal law, has numerous exceptions where the law is inapplicable. For the sake of brevity, this article will concentrate on the FLSA’s main provisions and will not delve into every exception.

Fox 13 Tampa Bay Battle Over Gun Laws Video with Hunter Chamberlin and Walter Allen

Hunter Chamberlin was standing by with Fox 13’s Walter Allen to discuss the battle over gun laws.

Woman Charged with a DUI on a Horse? Do Not Drink and Drive in Florida!

According to the Associated Press a 53-year-old woman riding a horse down a Florida highway has been charged with driving drunk. Only in Florida…

View the article here:

As a prosecutor, Hunter handled hundreds of DUI cases, including many trials before juries. That knowledge and experience allows Hunter to quickly hone in on the possible strengths and weaknesses of a DUI case, maximizing the chances for a successful outcome in both the administrative and criminal cases. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, contact Chamberlin Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.

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