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Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Lawmakers Advance Bill Allowing Adults to Expunge Their Criminal Records

Lawmakers Advance Bill Allowing Adults to Expunge Their Criminal Records


Under current Florida law, Floridians are only allowed to have their criminal records expunged once in their lifetime. This remains true even if the individual had their record expunged as a minor, if they were falsely accused, if they were wrongfully arrested, if they were found not guilty, or if the charges against them were dismissed. A new proposal, dubbed SB 54, would add an exception to the expungements statute that would allow adults who had their criminal records expunged as minors a second chance to expunge their records as adults. In other words, any adult who had their criminal record expunged as a minor would be eligible for a second expungement. Currently, Florida law does not allow adults who had their records expunged as minors to expunge adult criminal records. The bill would only apply to those who weren’t convicted or pleaded guilty to the criminal offense that they were charged with.

At present, criminal charges can follow you into adulthood even if you were never convicted of the crime for which you were charged. This can impact Floridians attempting to get housing, apply to college, or get a job in law enforcement or the military.

What is an expunction of criminal records in Florida? 

Under Florida Statutes Section 943.045(16), an expunction of a criminal history record is a “court-ordered physical destruction” of the record by any criminal justice agency in possession of the record. In other words, the expunction involves the elimination of documents and information that pertain to a criminal incident. A confidential record remains with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but for all intents and purposes, the record is destroyed.

Expungements may be granted when:

  • There are no indictment or other charging document was filed in the case, or the case was dismissed or the subject of a nolle pros (the case was abandoned by the prosecutor)
  • There are no prior adjudications of guilt for any criminal offense or similar ordinance violation
  • There is no adjudication of guilt or delinquency in the case that is subject to expunction
  • There are no prior sealed or expunged cases pursued
  • There are no other seal or expunge petitions pending before any court

How would the new law help Floridians? 

Essentially, it is impossible for a Floridian to get their record sealed or expunged if they already had their record expunged as a minor. The new law would remove that provision allowing Floridians to pursue an expungement if (and only if) they applied to expunge juvenile records. Under the provisions, a defendant could not be convicted of the crime for which they were charged. Currently, Florida law does not permit individuals to seal or expunge records that stem from charges that resulted in an adjudication of guilt (a guilty plea or a guilty verdict).

Talk to a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Luke Newman, P.A. can help you get your criminal record sealed or expunged. Call our Tallahassee criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.



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