If certain qualifications are met, the FDLE automatically expunges juvenile criminal history records, without merging them with future adult criminal history records, after a five-year period. If you want to learn more about the possible steps to take with your record, you need a criminal attorney in either Lake City or Gainesville to walk you through your options. The qualifications and time periods are listed below:
Schedule for Automatic Expunction of Juvenile Criminal History Record, per s. 943.0515, FL Statutes:
|5 years after the date of the minor's 19th birthday (24thbirthday)||
1. If the minor has not been classified as a serious or habitual offender (committed a single misdemeanor),
2. Has not been committed to a juvenile correctional facility, and
3. Has not been charged or convicted of a forcible felony during that period.
|5 years after the date of the minor's 21st birthday (26thbirthday)||
1. If the minor has been classified as a serious or habitual offender (committed a felony or multiple crimes) or committed to a juvenile correctional facility, but
2. Has not been charged with a forcible felony as an adult (regardless of minor status at the time of charging).
Never—juvenile record merges with adult record
1. If the minor has been adjudicated as an adult for a forcible felony, or
2. If a person over the age of 18 is charged or convicted of a forcible felony before the record has been destroyed pursuant to the time periods listed above.
Generally, if the crime is a minor, non-violent offense, and the minor was never committed to a correctional facility, and he or she stays out of trouble, the juvenile record will be automatically sealed at age 24. If there were multiple crimes, or one more serious crime, the record will be sealed at age 26. However, if the defendant gets in trouble again before automatic expunction, then the previous offenses will be merged with that person's adult record. If you have a record from a juvenile offense in Florida, it's in your best interest to consult with a Lake City defense attorney to understand your rights and next steps.
If a Lake City juvenile defendant successfully completes a qualified diversion program, he or she may be qualified to have the juvenile criminal history record expunged earlier than the schedule listed above, or at the time of completion of a pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program.
The qualified diversion program must be one that expressly authorizes early expunction, and the minor cannot qualify if he or she has been charged or conviction by the state attorney prior to submitting the application. Certain requirements must be satisfied to qualify for early expunction.
To qualify, the minor defendant must have committed an infraction that is a non-violent misdemeanor, and must submit an application for expunction within 12 months of completion of the program, which must include:
- A parent or legal guardian's signature (or the defendant's signature if he/she has turned 18), and
- An official written statement from the state attorney, certifying successful completion of the program, that the Alachua County juvenile arrest was for a non-violent misdemeanor, and that no other charges are pending with that office.
Florida Statutes, s. 943.0582(3)(a)-(f) lists the requirements to expunge the record of a minor who has completed a diversion program:
“(3) The department shall expunge the non-judicial arrest record of a minor who has successfully completed a pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program if that minor:
(a) Submits an application for pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion expunction, on a form prescribed by the department, signed by the minor's parent or legal guardian, or by the minor if he or she has reached the age of majority at the time of applying.
(b) Submits the application for pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion expunction no later than 12 months after completion of the diversion program.
(c) Submits to the department, with the application, an official written statement from the state attorney for the county in which the arrest occurred certifying that he or she has successfully completed that county's pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program, that his or her participation in the program was based on an arrest for a nonviolent misdemeanor, and that he or she has not otherwise been charged by the state attorney with or found to have committed any criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation.
(d) Participated in a pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program that expressly authorizes or permits such expunction to occur.
(e) Participated in a pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program based on an arrest for a nonviolent misdemeanor that would not qualify as an act of domestic violence as that term is defined in s. 741.28.
(f) Has never, prior to filing the application for expunction, been charged by the state attorney with or been found to have committed any criminal offense or comparable ordinance violation.” FL Stat., s. 943.0582(3)(a)-(f).
If you have questions concerning the sealing or expunging process of criminal history records contact Koberlein Law Offices at www.FlaLegalHelp.com or by calling either our Lake City, Florida or Gainesville, Florida offices free of charge. We will be happy to help answer your questions. Don't hesitate to get the help you need from a criminal defense lawyer.