When a minor has a criminal record, his or her family may be concerned about its effect on the minor’s future. There is a recent legislative proposal that may address those concerns.
The Florida legislature is currently considering a proposal that would allow juveniles who have completed a diversion program to have nonjudicial arrest records expunged. This would apply to any offense except for a forcible felony.
Currently, a records expungement may only be granted for misdemeanor offenses. The bill, SB 342, must be considered by one additional committee before it is sent to the Florida Senate floor for a full vote.
Diversion programs and expungement
Diversion programs are intended to provide the minor with programming, rehabilitation and restoration. Essentially, it diverts him or her from further delinquency and under the another proposed bill, SB 0344, the successful completion of the diversion program would be confidential and not subject to public records requirements.
The bill recognizes that if it is not confidential, the minor may be prevented from obtaining education, employment and other opportunities. The goal is to help the minor become a productive and contributing member of society.
Expungement is effectively treated as though the minor was never convicted and therefore, removes the offense from his or her record. The bill proposes that the records would be made available to criminal justice agencies only in limited circumstances.
An experienced criminal attorney can offer advice and guidance for juvenile offenses, including negotiating with the prosecution to reduce charges and ensure he or she is charged as a minor, not an adult.