Florida Juvenile Criminal Record Expungements and Sealings
Protect Your Child From a One-time Mistake
Information provided by Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Orlando - Statewide Service
Last Updated: May 3, 2016
Juvenile Record Expungements and Sealings
Growing up is an adventure. We all took too many risks and did too many dumb things - but we were kids. Unfortunately, some of us got caught. These one-time mistakes should not follow you for the rest of your life. Today, they do.
We believe that juvenile records are confidential and exempt from public records. The fact is the Florida public records laws are a mess. Depending on what Florida department you are looking at the record keeping and protections of juvenile records change. The bottom line is that your child's juvenile record is being sold to private background companies.
The good news is that your child can take advantage of the sealing (s. 943.059, Fla. Stat.) and expungement (s. 943.0585, Fla. Stat.) statutes. In addition, the law also provides for a separate expungement (s. 943.0582, Fla. Stat.) if your child has completed a juvenile diversion program. Your child should take advantage of these procedures in order to minimize his or her exposure to the "information age."
Expungement and Sealing of Criminal Record Information
Expungements (for cases that have been dropped) and sealings (for cases that have had the adjudication of delinquency withheld) are a huge benefit today. The sooner you have this ordered the sooner the records will stop being sold to private companies for broad distribution to hiring companies, apartments, and others. These companies buy these records directly from the state and provide these records to anyone willing to pay the money.
We have been under a false belief that juvenile records are not public records and that no one can see them. The actual law says differently and has been interpreted to mean that all juvenile records are public records (see juvenile records). This means having your juvenile record expunged or sealed is a necessity.
Juvenile Record Expungement and Sealings Are Not For Everyone
A juvenile record expungement or sealing is meant to give kids a second chance. These are not for kids that are committing violent crimes, multiple crimes, or will continue to commit crimes. First, most violent crimes are ineligible if you or your child was found guilty of it. Second, a kid that has been found guilty of committing multiple offense may receive little benefit from this procedure since it can only remove records from one arrest.
The purpose of publishing this information is to help judges, attorneys and non-lawyers better understand this area of law. We appreciate any input that may further this goal.
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