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Are Juvenile Records Sealed When You Turn 18?
If you have a juvenile record in California, you should know that it is open to the public. This documentation includes all the information about criminal activity you were allegedly involved with before you turned 18, including arrest and probation reports and court findings and rulings.
Having a juvenile record can make it exponentially more challenging for young adults to successfully find meaningful employment, apply for a bank loan, get a driver’s license, rent an apartment or get accepted into school. Fortunately, having a case sealed makes it as if it never happened. Here’s what you need to know about the process of sealing juvenile records in California.
What Happens to Your Record Once You Turn 18?
Many people assume that a juvenile record immediately turns into a non-issue once they become legal adults. However, that’s not the case in California, where the court does not automatically seal juvenile records. That means your record will remain available for anyone to access unless you proactively seek out a judicial order to have it sealed.
There are multiple advantages to sealing your juvenile record, most notably that doing so will give you a fresh start – from that point on, no one will know about it. If anyone asks you if you’ve been arrested or if you have a criminal record, you can truthfully and confidently answer “no.”
Not everyone is eligible to petition to have their juvenile records sealed – there are some notable exceptions. For instance, some violent crimes such as murder, assault, robbery and carjacking are typically unsealable, depending on your age at the time of the offense.
If you apply for a job with a law enforcement agency, your record might be also visible to them when they run a background check on you.
You are eligible to have your juvenile records sealed if you are older than 18, or if at least five years have passed since your most recent arrest or discharge from probation. You must also be able to prove to the court that you have been rehabilitated, and there must not be any pending litigation resulting from any of the crimes on your juvenile record. Additionally, you can’t have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony for crimes involving “moral turpitude,” such as voluntary manslaughter or rape.
Protect Your Future
While the process of applying to have a juvenile record sealed can help empower young adults by giving them new insights into the justice system, it’s best to have reliable legal representation to ensure a former juvenile offender can enter adulthood with a clean slate. As a former prosecutor, Katie Walsh has handled thousands of juvenile cases, making her one of the most experienced attorneys in these matters.
When the Law Offices of Katie Walsh represents your legal defense, we will help you file a record-sealing petition. Together, you and your attorney will attend the court hearing that determines the petition outcome. Once a judge decides to seal a juvenile record, all related information will get destroyed after five years, allowing you to make a fresh start with your adult life. Contact us today for your free consultation.