Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

Not guilty verdict?

Record may now be eligible for automatic sealing

By Tami Stevenson

The charges were dropped, you were found innocent, they had the wrong guy… but it keeps showing up on your record!

   Unfortunately, scenarios such as this have happened and do happen in our society. These mistakes in our justice system can follow job seekers for the rest of their lives.

     On June 5, Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/SB 376 – Automatic Sealing of Criminal History Records and Making Confidential and Exempt Related Court Records that should help with all of this. 

     The summary of the bill specifies that a criminal history record is eligible for automatic sealing when an indictment, information, or other charging document was dismissed as to all counts, or a not guilty verdict was rendered as to all counts.

     Additionally, the bill requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), to notify the clerk upon the sealing of a criminal history record. The clerk must automatically keep the court record in the case giving rise to the department’s sealing of the criminal history record confidential and exempt. The bill is effective July 1, 2023.