Gillis Helps Change Florida Expunction Law
In 2018, David J. Gillis proposed an amendment to existing Florida law and secured sponsorship from State Representative Dane Eagle (Cape Coral) for legislation seeking to make those acquitted or found not guilty at trial eligible for an expunction of their criminal record. Gillis advocated for the bill after determining that a client, who was acquitted at a criminal trial, was ineligible for expunction because the law excluded eligibility for those with charges disposed of by trial, regardless of the outcome in the case. The bill passed unanimously in both the Florida House and Senate and was signed into law, effective October 1, 2018 (Florida Statute s. 943.0585). Gillis has since applied for expunction of his client’s record, received preliminary approval from the state attorney and is awaiting approval by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Gillis focuses his practice on criminal defense, personal injury and general civil litigation at The Law Offices of David J. Gillis in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to opening his firm in 2016, Gillis practiced at Wicker Smith and was an assistant public defender in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender.
“When I learned that my client was ineligible for expunction because he was acquitted at trial, it struck me as contrary to our belief in the presumption of innocence and our faith in impartial juries. No person should have their record scarred with an unproven allegation and certainly not in those circumstances where the person is acquitted at trial. I'm grateful to Representative Eagle for working hard to fix this oversight and happy that Floridians who exercise their right to a trial, and are ultimately acquitted, will have this avenue available to them in the future.”