Juvenile Criminal Record Expungement

Contrary to popular belief, a juvenile's criminal history will appear in a criminal bakground check conducted by an employer, school, or landlord. Fortunately, there are several statutory options available for juvenile's to expunge their criminal records under Florida law.

Each expungement option has specific eligibility requirements. And eligibility to expunge juvenile records under one statute does not necessarily mean they will eligible to do so under another statute. Moreover, pursuing a juvenile record expungement under the wrong expungement statute could foreclose expungement eligibility in a future criminal case.

For example, a juvenile who pursues a juvenile record expungement under the Court Ordered Expungement statute, will be unable to get a subsequently obtained adult criminal record expunged - even if the case was dismissed.

However, a juvenile who elected a juvenile record expungement under the Diversion Program Expungement statute will retain their statutory eligibility to seek a Court Ordered Expungement statute under the Court Ordered Expungement statute should they be arrested later on.

Consequently, when seeking to expunge juvenile records, it is critically important that the expungement is pursued under the most favorable expungement method available.

Juvenile Expungement Options

Florida law provides for five statutory expungement options that a juvenile may pursue in having their juvenile records expunged.

Administrative Expungement

Under Florida Statute 943.0581, a juvenile may petition for the administrative expunction of any nonjudicial record that was created as a result of an arrest made contrary to law or by mistake. Once expunged, the criminal records will no longer appear on a background check.

While there is no limitation as to how many times a juvenile can have a case expunged under this statute, an expungement under this statute is very rare and is usually limited to scenarios where law enforcement arrested the wrong person.

Automatic Expungement

Under Florida Statute 943.0515, juvenile records possessed by law enforcement are automatically expunged when the juvenile turns 24 so long as the juvenile case(s) were dismissed or a withhold of adjudication was received. Once automatically expunged, the criminal records will no longer appear on a background check.

However, if prior to the juvenile's 24th birthday, the juvenile is charged with or convicted of a forcible felony as an adult, the juvenile record is merged with the adult record and remains on the person's criminal history record forever.

As a result, if a juvenile faced serious charges prior to turning 18 that were resolved favorably, it is generally advisable to pursue a Court Ordered Expungement immediately rather than wait until the juvenile's 24th birthday - as they may become ineligible for automatic expungement prior to turning 24.

Court-Ordered Expungement

Under Florida Statute 943.0585, a juvenile may petition the court to seal or expunge the juvenile record of a single criminal case provided the juvenile otherwise qualifies. Once expunged, the juvenile records will no longer appear on a background check.

The primary drawback to pursuing a Court Ordered Expungement is that it can only be elected once in a person's life. As a result, a person should make every attempt to seek an expungement under another expungement statute if available.

Diversion Program Expungement

Under Florida Statute 943.0582, a juvenile may petition the court to expunge the nonjudicial arrest record of a minor who successfully completed a prearrest or postarrest diversion program for a non-violent misdemeanor offense no later than 12 months after completion of the diversion program.

Once expunged under this section, the juvenile records will no longer appear on a background check. And a person who receives a Diversion Program Expungement is not prevented from pursuing the sealing or expungement of a subsequently committed criminal offense under another expungement statute, such as the Court Ordered Expungement statute.

Human Trafficking Victim Expungement

Florida Statute 943.0583 allows juvenile victims of human trafficking to expunge the criminal records of most non-violent criminal acts committed while a victim of human trafficking.

Once expunged under this section, the juvenile records will no longer appear on a background check. And a person who receives a Human Trafficking Expungement is not prevented from pursuing the sealing or expungement of a subsequently committed criminal offense under another expungement statute, such as the Court Ordered Expungement statute.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have juvenile criminal history that you would like to have expunged in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.