2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Human trafficking victim expunction.
Human trafficking victim expunction.
943.0583 Human trafficking victim expunction.—
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Human trafficking” has the same meaning as provided in s. 787.06.
(b) “Official documentation” means any documentation issued by a federal, state, or local agency tending to show a person’s status as a victim of human trafficking.
(c) “Victim of human trafficking” means a person subjected to coercion, as defined in s. 787.06, for the purpose of being used in human trafficking, a child under 18 years of age subjected to human trafficking, or an individual subjected to human trafficking as defined by federal law.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon the filing of a petition as provided in this section, any court in the circuit in which the petitioner was arrested, so long as the court has jurisdiction over the class of offense or offenses sought to be expunged, may order a criminal justice agency to expunge the criminal history record of a victim of human trafficking who complies with the requirements of this section. A petition need not be filed in the court where the petitioner’s criminal proceeding or proceedings originally occurred. This section does not confer any right to the expunction of any criminal history record, and any request for expunction of a criminal history record may be denied at the discretion of the court. The clerk of the court may not charge a filing fee, service charge, or copy fee or any other charge for a petition filed under this section. The clerk of the court shall treat a petition seeking to expunge more than one eligible case as a single petition.
(3) A person who is a victim of human trafficking may petition for the expunction of a criminal history record resulting from the arrest or filing of charges for one or more offenses committed or reported to have been committed while the person was a victim of human trafficking, which offense was committed or reported to have been committed as a part of the human trafficking scheme of which the person was a victim or at the direction of an operator of the scheme, including, but not limited to, violations under chapters 796 and 847, without regard to the disposition of the arrest or of any charges. However, this section does not apply to any offense listed in s. 775.084(1)(b)1. Determination of the petition under this section should be by a preponderance of the evidence. A conviction expunged under this section is deemed to have been vacated due to a substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceedings. If a person is adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity or is found to be incompetent to stand trial for any such charge, the expunction of the criminal history record may not prevent the entry of the judgment or finding in state and national databases for use in determining eligibility to purchase or possess a firearm or to carry a concealed firearm, as authorized in s. 790.065(2)(a)4.c. and 18 U.S.C. s. 922(t), nor shall it prevent any governmental agency that is authorized by state or federal law to determine eligibility to purchase or possess a firearm or to carry a concealed firearm from accessing or using the record of the judgment or finding in the course of such agency’s official duties.
(4) A petition under this section must be initiated by the petitioner with due diligence after the victim has ceased to be a victim of human trafficking or has sought services for victims of human trafficking, subject to reasonable concerns for the safety of the victim, family members of the victim, or other victims of human trafficking that may be jeopardized by the bringing of such petition or for other reasons consistent with the purpose of this section.
(5) Official documentation of the victim’s status creates a presumption that his or her participation in the offense was a result of having been a victim of human trafficking but is not required for granting a petition under this section. A determination made without such official documentation must be made by a showing of clear and convincing evidence.
(6) Each petition to a court to expunge a criminal history record is complete only when accompanied by:
(a) The petitioner’s sworn statement attesting that the petitioner is eligible for such an expunction to the best of his or her knowledge or belief.
(b) Official documentation of the petitioner’s status as a victim of human trafficking, if any exists.
(7)(a) In judicial proceedings under this section, a copy of the completed petition to expunge shall be served upon the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and upon the arresting agency; however, it is not necessary to make any agency other than the state a party. The appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency may respond to the court regarding the completed petition to expunge.
(b) The petitioner or the petitioner’s attorney may appear at any hearing under this section telephonically, via video conference, or by other electronic means.
(c) The court shall allow an advocate from a state attorney’s office, law enforcement agency, safe house or safe foster home as defined in s. 409.1678(1), or a residential facility offering services to adult victims of human trafficking to be present with the petitioner during any court proceedings or hearings under this section, if the petitioner has made such a request and the advocate is able to be present.
(d) If relief is granted by the court, the clerk of the court shall certify copies of the order to the appropriate state attorney or the statewide prosecutor and the arresting agency. The arresting agency is responsible for forwarding the order to any other agency listed in the court order to which the arresting agency disseminated the criminal history record information to which the order pertains. The department shall forward the order to expunge to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The clerk of the court shall certify a copy of the order to any other agency that the records of the court reflect has received the criminal history record from the court.
(8)(a) Any criminal history record of a minor or an adult that is ordered expunged pursuant to this section must be physically destroyed or obliterated by any criminal justice agency having custody of such record, except that any criminal history record in the custody of the department must be retained in all cases.
(b) The person who is the subject of a criminal history record that is expunged under this section may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by the expunged record, except when the subject of the record is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency or is a defendant in a criminal prosecution.
(c) Subject to the exceptions in paragraph (b), a person who has been granted an expunction under this section may not be held under any law of this state to commit perjury or to be otherwise liable for giving a false statement by reason of such person’s failure to recite or acknowledge an expunged criminal history record.
(9) Any reference to any other chapter, section, or subdivision of the Florida Statutes in this section constitutes a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by reference.
(10)(a) A criminal history record ordered expunged under this section that is retained by the department is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that the record shall be made available:
1. To criminal justice agencies for their respective criminal justice purposes.
2. To any governmental agency that is authorized by state or federal law to determine eligibility to purchase or possess a firearm or to carry a concealed firearm for use in the course of such agency’s official duties.
3. Upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) A criminal justice agency may retain a notation indicating compliance with an order to expunge.
(11)(a) The following criminal intelligence information or criminal investigative information is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
1. Any information that reveals the identity of a person who is a victim of human trafficking whose criminal history record has been expunged under this section.
2. Any information that may reveal the identity of a person who is a victim of human trafficking whose criminal history record has been ordered expunged under this section.
(b) Criminal investigative information and criminal intelligence information made confidential and exempt under this subsection may be disclosed by a law enforcement agency:
1. In the furtherance of its official duties and responsibilities.
2. For print, publication, or broadcast if the law enforcement agency determines that such release would assist in locating or identifying a person that the agency believes to be missing or endangered. The information provided should be limited to that needed to identify or locate the victim.
3. To another governmental agency in the furtherance of its official duties and responsibilities.
(c) This exemption applies to such confidential and exempt criminal intelligence information or criminal investigative information held by a law enforcement agency before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption.
History.—s. 2, ch. 2013-98; s. 1, ch. 2013-99; s. 12, ch. 2014-160; s. 2, ch. 2015-145; s. 2, ch. 2015-146; s. 1, ch. 2018-39; s. 2, ch. 2020-170; ss. 3, 9, ch. 2021-189.