Florida Juveniles Get a Second Chance With HB 195

After vetoing a bill that would expand expunction measures to include juvenile offenders one year ago, Governor Ron DeSantis has approved HB 195, an updated version of the same bill which provides minors the ability to expunge a criminal record after completing a diversion program. By allowing them a second chance, HB 195 will be a major benefit to minors who are faced with the burden of a criminal record, and hopefully, bring some positive change to juvenile recidivism rates.

The New Rules to Florida’s Expunction Law

Before HB 195, minors could only receive expunction in cases of misdemeanors, and only on their first offense. Some minors were required to wait until the age of 24 to have their record expunged, creating years of difficulty in finding employment due to their criminal records. This difficulty was often destructive for those who held criminal records throughout some of their most formative years, and arguably lead to higher recidivism rates – between 2014 and 2015, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice found that the recidivism rate for offenders arrested and sent to a juvenile residential facility was 45 percent, while the recidivism rate for those who received a fine and no arrest record was just 5 percent.

Under the new bill, minors will be able to receive expunction of their criminal records after completing a diversion program pertinent to their crime, with certain limitations. New to this year’s version of the bill is the exclusion of individuals who have committed forcible felonies, and this change was crucial to getting the legislation passed, as last year Governor DeSantis vetoed the same bill when it came across his desk, citing concerns over the ability to expunge serious felonies. 

The bill is a big win for everyone. For those who have been shadowed by a juvenile criminal record, it re-opens many doors that lead away from the criminal justice system, instead of towards it. For those in our communities, it will help cut down on recidivism rates and the costs of imprisoning those who could be rehabilitated. HB 195 will take effect on July 1st, and we look forward to seeing the positive change it brings to Florida.

For those facing serious criminal charges, juvenile or otherwise, Heather Bryan Law, P.A. can help. We provide experienced legal representation for those who need it most. Contact us today for your consultation.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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