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Juvenile crimes -- can they be expunged?

Any youth in Florida who became involved in criminal activities, even insignificant infractions, may suffer consequences as he or she grows older and enters the job market. Criminal records of anybody is readily available on the internet, and even a once-off misstep could jeopardize a person's future. This is where it may be wise to explore the possibility to expungement of criminal records related to juvenile crimes.

If the court orders an expungement, arrests or criminal convictions will be sealed -- not erased. This means that it will only be unavailable for individuals who want to do background checks. It will remain available to law enforcement; however, the person whose criminal records were expunged will not be obliged to provide full disclosure when applying for employment or accommodation.

The rules related to expungement in different states vary. Several factors may play a role, such as when the crime was committed, the time that has since lapsed, whether it was a violent crime, and the severity of the offense -- was it a misdemeanor or felony. The process typically requires the filing of a petition with the appropriate criminal court, and it might be necessary to also serve the District Attorney with the papers.

Individuals in Florida who want to explore the possibility of expungement of juvenile crimes may find the process to be challenging. For that reason, the most appropriate step might be to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can assess the circumstances and determine the viability of filing a petition for expungement. If it is viable, the attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout proceedings.

Source: FindLaw, "Got Priors? How to Expunge Criminal Records", Stephanie Rabiner, Accessed on Sept. 15, 2017

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