House Bill (HB) 147 will allow the expungement and sealing of minors’ criminal records.
Expunging is a process in which the files are destroyed and removed from the system.
Minors with sealed records can say no when asked if they have a criminal history on a job application.
Nathan Prince Esq., a criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey & Prince in Tallahassee, explains that state attorneys and law enforcement are quick to punish minors and that the bill is well intended.
“I think it will accomplish a lot of good if it’s passed. It seems to be the case now that kids are charged with everything,” Prince said. “They move so fast nowadays. No reason to screw young people lives up over essentially stupid kid decisions.”
The bill previously allowed the history record of a crime to remain until the minor is 19 years old.
State attorney William N. Meggs, explained the bill does not make much difference.
“I think it’s kind of no-harm, no-foul piece of legislation, it doesn’t change anything,” Meggs said.
Lee Goodson, a military veteran who had to deal with the mishaps of being a teenager with a minor criminal record is in favor of the bill.
“I support the bill. I believe the time lapse should be 18. The bill would forgive crimes that were committed while the teens’ mind is still developing,” Goodson said.
If the bill is passed, minors will be able to expunge their criminal records within five years, which will go into effect July 1, 2016