Your juvenile arrest record can be expunged just like an adult arrest record. However, it is important to know how expunging a juvenile record is different than expunging an adult record.
First of all, there are really two different types of juvenile expungements. One, which only exists in the juvenile system, is known as a juvenile diversion expungement. This expungement is permitted for juvenile defendants who have successfully completed a juvenile diversion program, resulting in the dismissal of the charges.
A juvenile diversion expungement must be filed within 6 months of completing the diversion program otherwise the juvenile will lose their eligibility and must go through the standard expungement process.
A juvenile diversion expungement does not involve the court. This is more of an administrative expungement which is completed by FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement). An expungement attorney can assist you in getting the necessary forms filed.
If you have missed the 6-month window, you can still expunge your juvenile arrest provided you have never sealed or expunged a record before and you have no convictions.
The process of expunging a juvenile record is similar to the adult expungement process. However, obtaining a certified judgment of a juvenile record is more difficult as those records are not made available to the public. Again, an expungement lawyer can assist in obtaining this necessary document.
Once that document is obtained, a completed application (signed by the juvenile and a representative from the State Attorney’s Office), the certified disposition of the case, and a completed set of fingerprints will go to FDLE for processing. Processing juvenile expungements takes about 4-6 months while at FDLE.
After the application is processed, it is returned along with a certificate of eligibility that must be filed, along with a petition and supporting affidavit, with the court in which the juvenile’s case was heard.
Juvenile records may also be sealed provided adjudication was withheld and the term of probation has been completed.
Eric Matheny is an expungement attorney serving the entire State of Florida.