Expunction for Human Trafficking Victims
What happens when a victim is prosecuted for crimes related to prostitution or human trafficking? The victim of human trafficking can use special provisions of Florida law to petition the court for an expunction of the criminal record.
The Human Trafficking Victim Expunction Statute “does not confer any right to the expunction of a criminal history record, and any request for expunction of a criminal history record may be denied at the discretion of the court.” § 943.0583(2), Fla. Stat. (2017).
Petitions to expunge criminal records under section 943.0583 seek civil relief. In State v. Greenberg, 564 So. 2d 1176, 1177 (Fla. 3d DCA 1990), the court held that the “expungement statute as a whole is a remedial statute providing remedies which are civil in nature.” Id. (citing Capuano v. State, 347 So. 2d 629 (Fla. 4th DCA 1977)).
Attorney for the Human Trafficking Expunction in Florida
The expungement for victims of human trafficking is entirely a judicial proceeding. For this reason, it does not require an application for certification of eligibility.
Your criminal defense attorney can contact the Clerk of Court, the State Attorney, or the Statewide Prosecutor in the county of jurisdiction for additional information. If you do not qualify for this process, you might still qualify for a court-ordered seal or expunction.
Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm to discuss this special procedure available only to the victims of human trafficking. .
Florida’s Human Trafficking Victim Expunction Statute – § 943.0583
The Human Trafficking Victim Expunction Statute, section 943.0583(3), provides:
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 an offense 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.
The expunction statute enumerates a list of offenses in Section 775.084(1)(b)1. For those enumerated offenses, the legislature intended the court to apply the exclusion provision in section 943.0583(3) of the Human Trafficking Victim Expunction Statute. The list of enumerated offenses listed in 775.084(1)(b)1 include the following:
- Sexual battery;
- Aggravated child abuse;
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon;
- Aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Aggravated manslaughter of a child;
- Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;
- Armed burglary;
- Aggravated battery; or
- Aggravated stalking.
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm to learn more about Florida’s harsh penalties for human trafficking and human smuggling crimes.
FDLE on Human Trafficking Expunction in Florida – Visit the website of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to learn more about the special provision of Florida law that permits the victim of human trafficking to petition for expungement of a criminal history report related to that status as a victim. Find out why this entire judicial proceeding does not require an application for certification of eligibility.
This article was last updated on Thursday, December 7, 2023.