Many people have their youthful indiscretions, but not all of them resulted in arrests or criminal charges. The state of Florida understands that minors should not have their entire lives tarnished by errors in judgment they made during their formative years.
As a result, most juvenile criminal history records are automatically expunged (erased) when the offenders turn 24 or 26 years old, depending on the nature of the criminal charge. However, these records can have a tremendous impact on the lives of juvenile offenders in many ways before they are automatically expunged, including difficulty in obtaining financial aid, housing, or employment.
If you or your child needs help in having a juvenile criminal record sealed or expunged, it is in your best interest to seek the help of legal counsel. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter provides assistance in these matters for clients all over Central Florida.
Our Brevard County juvenile record expungement attorney not only helpsalleged juvenile offenders get the most favorable outcomes to their criminal cases, but we also fight to keep records clean so they can move on with their lives. You can have our firm review your case during a free consultation by calling (321) 586-9944 today.
There are essentially three ways that juvenile offenders can have their records expunged in Florida.
Under Florida Statute § 943.0515, the Criminal Justice Information Program of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) retains the criminal history record of a minor who is classified as a serious or habitual juvenile offender or committed to a juvenile correctional facility or juvenile prison for five years after the date he or she reaches 21 years of age. If the minor is not classified as a serious or habitual juvenile offender or committed to a juvenile correctional facility or juvenile prison, the record will be retained for five years after the date he or she reaches 19 years of age. When the former reaches 26 years of age or the latter reaches 24 years of age, the records are expunged.
However, if a person 18 years of age or older is charged with or convicted of a forcible felony and the person’s criminal history record as a minor has not yet been destroyed, then his or her record as a minor is merged with his or her adult criminal history record and must be retained as a part of that adult record.
Florida Statute § 943.0581 allows for adults or the parents or legal guardians of minor children to apply to the FDLE for the administrative expunction of any nonjudicial record of an arrest made contrary to law or by mistake. This application needs to be supported by the endorsement of the head of the arresting agency or his or her designee or the state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the arrest occurred or his or her designee.
This process established under Florida Statute § 943.0582 allows for the expunction of any nonjudicial record of the arrest of a minor who has successfully completed a prearrest, postarrest, or teen court diversion program for minors. A person whose record is expunged under this process can lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest and the charge covered by the expunged record, although that record can be made available to criminal justice agencies for the purpose of determining eligibility for any subsequent prearrest, postarrest, or teen court diversion programs, when the record is sought as part of a criminal investigation, or when the subject of the record is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency.
Juvenile offenders can have their criminal records sealed or expunged before they turn 24 years of age. However, it is important to remember that Floridians only get one chance to seal or expunge their records, so it is highly recommended to consult an experienced lawyer about both the best time to move forward with an expunction and for help in completing all necessary paperwork.
If a juvenile offender has a withhold of adjudication for an adult charge or a withholding of delinquency for a juvenile charge, then he or she file a petition with the Brevard County Clerk of Courts. This will require the following steps:
After receiving the judge’s order, the Juvenile Division of the Brevard County Clerk of Courts, the FDLE, and the arresting agency will all delete the charge from their databases, meaning the record is no longer accessible to anyone.
Not all juvenile offenders will have their records automatically sealed or expunged. People who are over 18 years old and charged with forcible felonies before their juvenile records are destroyed, minors under 18 years old who are adjudicated as an adult for forcible felonies, and minors adjudicated as sexual offenders all have their juvenile records merged with their adult criminal records. A forcible felony is defined under Florida Statute § 776.08 as including:
Additionally, any request for Certification of Eligibility for an expunction or sealing of a criminal history record will be denied when a juvenile offender was found guilty or pled guilty or nolo contendere for any of the following violations:
Do you or your child need to have a juvenile criminal record sealed or expunged as soon as possible? You can avoid unforeseen delays and ensure your petition is properly filed by having legal representation.
The The Law Offices of James B. Coulter helps clients all over Satellite Beach and Central Florida seal or expunge juvenile records. Call (321) 586-9944 right now to schedule a free, confidential consultation that will allow our Brevard County juvenile record expungement attorney to review your case.