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How might drug charges affect a youth’s record and for how long?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Drug Violations |

Past charges on one’s criminal record can hang over a person’s head and interfere with enjoying an ordinary life. Thousands of minors in Florida have had drug arrests in recent years and wish to move on from the incident.

These children and their parents should understand how long the state keeps drug charges on the books.

Expungement for juvenile records

Florida courts typically destroy juvenile criminal records at age 21. The state system expunges the record automatically, and the individual does not need to take any additional action.

Additionally, a person can petition for early expungement of a juvenile record. This option is available for someone 18 or older but younger than 21.

A critical stipulation for applying for early expungement is that the courts cannot have charged the individual with a crime in the previous five years. Other conditions can permit an expungement, such as diversion programs and administrative mistakes.

Exceptions to the rule

The courts will not automatically erase juvenile records at 21 if any of the following are true:

  • The drug offense was serious.
  • The court committed the juvenile to a juvenile prison or adult correctional facility.
  • The court declared the youth a habitual offender.
  • The convicted individual continues to face charges for specific crimes after 18.

The court will delete records for those it deems habitual offenders or with serious crimes when the individual turns 26. However, the crimes remain on one’s record if the individual receives any forcible felony charges as an adult.

Items on a criminal record can affect a person’s opportunities for education, employment or living accommodations. Expunging such events means the person does not have to mention them on applications and can move ahead with life.