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New Florida Law Allows Juvenile Offenders to Expunge Records at 21 Years of Age or Earlier

When it comes to charging adolescents and minors with crimes, there is always a feeling that the system has failed the children. The fact that they have been arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony generally says more about the situation that they have grown up in rather than the terrible qualities or negative characteristics of the youths. It is hard to penalize a minor when you know that the action or misconduct that has led them to their current predicament has more to do with their undeveloped and immature mind, rather than having malintent overall.

Juveniles and their Undeveloped Frontal Cortex

According to the National Institute of Mental Health and hundreds of other studies, children and adolescents are known to act impulsively largely because parts of their brains are undeveloped. The frontal cortex, which controls a person’s ability to reason and make decisions, does not fully develop until a person is around the age of 25, leading to a better understanding of why minors make the emotional and impulsive decisions that they do.

Science and the Criminal Justice System’s Effect on Juveniles

As science is in the process of making more and more clear the relationship between a teen’s culpability and his/her mental maturity, the courts are slowly but surely moving in the direction of pardoning them for bad acts in the event where the child engages in misconduct as part of an isolated incidence. Though the Supreme Court has ruled that children may not be executed for capital felonies, they may still see life in prison.

Florida’s New Juvenile Offender Criminal Record Expunction Law

The Florida Legislature is looking to help the juveniles out in a way in which one bad act will not forever mark a child’s bad choice at an early age. According to a recent bill passed by the Florida Legislature, which goes into effect July 1, 2016, juvenile offenders will be able to apply earlier for automatic expungement of their criminal record once the minor reaches the age of 21. To apply, however, the minor must have committed the crime before the age of 18 and must not be a serious or habitual offender. If the minor is in a juvenile correctional facility or prison, he/she also is unable to apply for the expungement.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If your child was arrested for his/her involvement in a criminal matter, it is important to speak with an experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik who can advocate on his/her behalf in hopes of sparing him/her from criminal conviction and the effect that will have on his/her future.  Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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