Are Florida Juvenile Records Really Confidential?

Melbourne Civil Litigation Attorney

Most people believe that juvenile records in the state of Florida are confidential. However, this is not necessarily true. Some juvenile criminal records in the state are not confidential. Specifically, juvenile felony arrests in the state of Florida are not confidential. The confidentiality status of a juvenile record in Florida depends on which government agency is handling the information, as well as the nature of the charge. 

All juvenile criminal records in the state of Florida must be maintained as non-public (confidential) unless one of the following is true:

  • The offense the juvenile was taken into custody for would be a felony if an adult committed the offense
  • The juvenile was transferred to the adult criminal justice system
  • The juvenile was transferred to the adult criminal justice system but was sentenced to the juvenile system
  • The juvenile was automatically filed into adult court due to the nature of the crime

In any of the above situations, the juvenile’s criminal record is not confidential and can be accessed by the public. 

Furthermore, if the juvenile’s record has been sold, then statutory automatic expungement will not occur. Under Florida law, juvenile arrest records must be destroyed when the juvenile reaches the age of 21 (26 in some instances). If a felony record was sold to a private vendor, there would be no benefit from an automatic expunction. Private vendors are not required to remove juvenile records. 

What Is Not Confidential on Juvenile Criminal Records?

If the juvenile’s arrest or criminal conviction fits into any of the situations listed above, the following information will not be confidential:

  • The juvenile’s name
  • The juvenile’s address
  • The juvenile’s photograph
  • The juvenile’s arrest report

Furthermore, if the juvenile is arrested for a felony offense or the state prosecutor charges the juvenile with a felony offense, then the above information will be available to the public. If the juvenile is attending school, the school must be notified, as well as the juvenile’s bus driver, teacher, principal, and any other school personnel who have direct supervision over the juvenile. 

When Does Expungement Apply? 

Expungement applies to the following cases:

  • If the minor is classified as a serious/habitual offender, the records will be expunged five years after the minor turns 21—unless the minor was charged with a forcible felony.
  • Minors not classified as serious/habitual offenders or who have not been committed to a juvenile correctional facility are eligible to have their offenses expunged two years after reaching the age of 19. 
  • Minors are allowed to apply for expungement of a criminal record after turning 18, but before turning 21, if five years have elapsed from the date of the offense.

Contact Our Melbourne Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers

If your child is facing criminal charges, then it can be beneficial to speak to a Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson, our Florida juvenile criminal defense lawyers work tirelessly for our clients and their families. 

Our office is conveniently located in Melbourne, Florida and we serve all of Brevard County, Florida. You may contact an experienced Melbourne Juvenile criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson by calling (321)253-3771. Your future and your freedom are at stake.

Additional Resources:

Is Florida the Worst State for Young People Accused of Crimes?

Will a Criminal Conviction in Florida Impact my Ability to Obtain Federal Aid?

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