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Can Juvenile Criminal Records be Expunged?

angry teen threatening someoneFor various reasons, juveniles are treated differently than adults are when they commit criminal infractions. The juvenile criminal system functions to serve two primary purposes. First, it aims to hold juveniles accountable for behavior that breaks the law. Second and perhaps far more importantly in many cases, it aims to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and set them up for success as adults.

In many cases, juvenile offenders commit minor offenses and once time has passed, they are in no way defined by this temporary behavior. However, the consequences of having a criminal record as juveniles can follow these individuals into adulthood. This record can consequently inhibit their ability to obtain housing, secure employment and be accepted into institutions of higher education.

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Thankfully, there is an option that many former juvenile offenders may exercise in order to leave the past rightfully in the past. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may be able to have your juvenile criminal record expunged.

Once you have reached the age of 18, you may request that the courts expunge your juvenile criminal record. Florida has its own nuanced regulations on the subject, so it is critical that you consult an experienced attorney about your request. However, if you are willing to file certain documents, pay court fees and you do not commit additional offenses, you have a good chance of having your request granted.

It is worth noting that juvenile criminal records are generally maintained separately from adult criminal records. In addition, they are not generally made part of the public record and are therefore less likely to impact an individual's ability to do whatever he or she pleases. But because there is a risk that a juvenile criminal record can impact an individual's adult life choices, it is worth exploring the possibility of expungement.

Source: Findlaw Blotter, "Can You Expunge Your Juvenile Record?" Deanne Katz, Feb. 21, 2013

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