The legal system generally separates juveniles from adults except in rare circumstances. Most of the time, a crime you commit as a juvenile goes on your juvenile record. While many people think the state erases this record when you turn 18, that is not true.
Every jurisdiction has the ability to set its own rules about record expungement, but in general, most juvenile records are not expunged until you are in your 20s, according to the Juvenile Law Center. There is an option for expungement earlier through a special program.
Florida law allows for the automatic expungement of juvenile records at age 24 for non-serious or habitual offenders. For those with serious or habitual offense, the expungement happens at age 26.
Teen court diversion program
If you go through the teen court diversion program, you may be able to have the court expunge your record before the automatic expungement. You must successfully complete every requirement of the program and follow all the rules. You also cannot have certain charges against you to be in the program and get an expungement.
There are two situations where the court will never expunge your juvenile record. The first is if you had a conviction for certain sexual offenses after July 1, 2007. The second is if you have a conviction for a forceable felony after turning 18 but before you reach the age of automatic expungement. In both cases, your juvenile record becomes part of your adult record.
You should note that it is always up to the court as to what to do with your juvenile records. Having a clean criminal history prior to your expungement as an adult can help increase the chances the court will not delay your expungement.