SB 118 and proposed section 943.0586, Florida Statutes

Updated – This Bill did NOT become law.

Your records are not going to disappear
because of this new law.

On July 1, 2018, a new section to the Florida Statutes was suppose to be born. It was s. 943.0586, F.S. It would have been nicely placed between the Florida expungement statute (s. 943.0585) and the sealing statute (s. 943.059). Recently, I have been getting a lot of questions regarding this proposed law. So rather than have to try and explain it multiple times, I decided to write this brief synopsis of my take on what it would have done – which is pretty much nothing.

Let’s do this by breaking down the text of the proposed statute (that never became law), sentence by sentence:

943.0586 Administrative sealing of criminal history records.

The Criminal Justice Information Program shall administratively seal the criminal history records pertaining to an arrest or incident of alleged criminal activity of an adult or a minor charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or violation of a comparable rule or ordinance by a state, county, municipal, or other law enforcement agency upon notification by the clerk of court, pursuant to s. 943.052 (2), that all the charges related to the arrest or incident of alleged criminal activity were declined to be filed by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor, were dismissed or nolle prosequi before trial, or resulted in a judgement of acquittal or verdict of not guilty at trial and that all appeals by the prosecution have been exhausted or the time to file an appeal has expired.
Can you believe this – it’s one sentence long. I’m going to make sense of it below:

The Criminal Justice Information Program shall administratively seal the criminal history records pertaining to . . . [an] incident of alleged criminal activity [by anyone] charged with a [crime], . . . upon notification by the clerk of court . . . that all the charges [were dropped or the defendant was otherwise not found guilty].
Much better. First, the Criminal Justice Information Program is a program within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (see s. 943.05, Fla. Stat.). It’s task is to transmit criminal justice information between criminal justice agencies. So, in effect, this statute would have only addressed that one program. It would not have made the record a non-public record, the Clerk’s Office would still maintain their records as public records and continue to sell those records to private companies.

This bill, would have had little effect on anyone’s background. It would not have replaced sections 943.0585 (expungement) and 943.059 (sealings) as they are today.

Bottom line is it did not become law so the point is moot regardless of your position on it.

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