Juvenile criminal records are treated differently than adult criminal records. Florida Statute Section 985.04(1) “provides that juvenile records are confidential, subject to specified exceptions, and limited disclosure to certain enumerated entities or upon court order. Subsection (2) generally allows for the disclosure of an arrest report for a juvenile arrested for a felony or an arrest report for a juvenile found by a court to have committed three or more misdemeanor offenses.” Although juvenile records are not public records like most adult records, they are not automatically destroyed when a child turns 18-years-old. They are not automatically expunged once the child becomes an adult. Instead, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains Jacksonville juvenile delinquency criminal history records until “the juvenile turns 24 years of age (if he or she is not a serious or habitual juvenile offender or committed to a juvenile prison) or 26 years of age (if he or she was a serious or habitual juvenile offender or was in a juvenile prison), as long as the juvenile is not arrested as an adult or adjudicated as an adult for a forcible felony.” At this point, the records that are maintained by the FDLE are expunged automatically.
As a Jacksonville juvenile lawyer and Florida criminal attorney, I understand that most juveniles want to clear their Florida criminal backgrounds before they turn 24-years-old. They want to apply to colleges and universities. They are trying to get jobs. Many people start their careers before age 24. Juveniles may still have their records expunge under Florida’s record expunging laws. The laws for expunging a juvenile record are under Florida Statute Section 943.0582 and 943.0585. If juveniles are not eligible to expunge their criminal records, they may still be able to seal the Florida records under Section 943.059. (Florida Senate Interim Report)
Are Jacksonville juvenile criminal records confidential? “Juvenile offender records traditionally have been considered confidential and treated differently from other records in the criminal justice system.” Florida Statute Section 985.04(1) states:
“Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), (6), and (7) and s. 943.053, all information obtained under this chapter in the discharge of official duty by any judge, any employee of the court, any authorized agent of the department [of Juvenile Justice], the Parole Commission, the Department of Corrections, the juvenile justice circuit boards, any law enforcement agent, or any licensed professional or licensed community agency representative participating in the assessment or treatment of a juvenile is confidential and may be disclosed only to the authorized personnel of the court, the department and its designees, the Department of Corrections, the Parole Commission, law enforcement agents, school superintendents and their designees, any licensed professional or licensed community agency representative participating in the assessment or treatment of a juvenile, and others entitled under this chapter to receive that information, or upon order of the court.” (Government in the Sunshine Manual)
Section 985.04(7)(a) “limits access to records in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. With the exception of specified persons and agencies, juvenile records in the custody of that agency ‘may be inspected only upon order of the Secretary of Juvenile Justice or his or her authorized agent by persons who have sufficient reason and upon such conditions for their use and disposition as the secretary or his or her authorized agent deems proper.’”
As a general rule, juvenile records are private and only accessible in certain circumstances and to certain agencies. “However, the subject of juvenile offense records may authorize access to such records to others (such as a potential employer) by means of a release.” If you have a juvenile record that you would like to seal or expunge, contact a Jacksonville lawyer at 20 Miles Law. Call (904) 564-2525.