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Are you eligible to have your juvenile criminal record expunged?

Maybe you made some poor decisions and mistakes as a minor. Everyone makes mistakes, but some are more serious than others and can land you in legal trouble. It’s only natural to worry that these bad decisions will haunt you for the rest of your life.

The good news is that the state of Florida expunges, or erases all records of your criminal history as a minor at age 21. Expungement makes it as if those incidents never happened. This is still true even if you served time in a juvenile correctional facility, only you must wait until age 26 to have your criminal record automatically expunged.

Wait. Are all crimes eligible for expungement?

As you might imagine, not all crimes are eligible for automatic expungement. Florida has exceptions to this law for “forcible felonies.” These felonies are typically the most violent or severe. Here are a few examples:

  • Murder.
  • Burglary and robbery.
  • Aggravated assault and battery.
  • Arson.
  • Kidnapping.

Florida law is likely intentionally vague with its definition of a forcible felony as a crime involving “use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.” That leaves a lot of room for interpretation when it comes to determining which crimes impact your eligibility for automatic expungement at either age 21 or 26.

Like a fresh start

It’s unlikely that other, less violent crimes would impact your ability to have your criminal record expunged. However, committing a crime after turning 18 years old could affect your eligibility for expungement. Having your criminal record expunged could have a significant positive effect on your life, such as making it easier to find employment and housing.

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