After the measure received unanimous approval in the House and Senate, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a bill that will expand minors’ ability to have arrest records expunged if they have completed diversion programs.
Under current law, minors who have completed diversion programs can be granted records expunctions for misdemeanor offenses.
The bill (HB 195), which will take effect July 1, will expand that to felony offenses, except for forcible felonies and felonies that involve the manufacture, sale, purchase, transport, possession or use of firearms.
Delvin Davis, regional policy analyst for criminal justice reform at the SPLC Action Fund, called the measure “common sense” legislation. “It serves no purpose to have children go into adulthood with a criminal record,” Davis said in a prepared statement Thursday. “Numerous studies have shown that a child’s brain is still developing throughout their mid-20’s. They can learn and grow and become rehabilitated. Under this legislation, children can get their records expunged if prosecutors choose to place them in a diversion program instead of the criminal justice system. Records are expunged upon successful completion of the program.”