Why Should I Seal My Juvenile Record?
Although you may have successfully completed your probation, having a juvenile record can have a negative effect on your life going forward. It may become an issue when you are trying to get a job or get into a college. Having your record sealed can help you get a fresh start without the fear of your past coming back to haunt you.
What Is A Juvenile Record?
Your juvenile record encompasses all documents, orders and reports in your juvenile court file. This also includes any documents that relates to your case in the possession of the Department of Justice, the Probation Department and law enforcement.
What Does It Mean to Seal Your Records?
Once your records have been sealed, all documents/records in the possession of the Court, the Probation Department, The District Attorney, the Police and Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Justice will be closed and sealed. The court proceedings will be treated as though they never took place. All of these agencies must answer: “We have no record of that matter” if they are asked about a sealed record. You may also legally say that you have never been arrested, charged or convicted, for the matter that has been sealed. What many people are surprised to learn is that a juvenile conviction or adjudication, is not a criminal conviction. So, even if you have not sealed your record, you can answer no if asked if you were ever convicted of a crime. This however can be tricky because, if the record is not sealed, and they some how are able to see it, they may view this as you being untruthful.
It is important to note that employers that conduct background checks may be able to access juvenile records that contain felony adjudications.
Who Can Get Their Records Sealed?
Anyone can seal his or her record if:
1) You are at least 18 years old and have completed probation, or you are younger than 18 but at least five years have passed since your last arrest or discharge from probation.
2) You have not been convicted of a felony or of any misdemeanor involving a crime of “moral turpitude” since your last arrest or discharge from probation.
Note: A conviction is an adult criminal designation, so this means that you cannot have any felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude in criminal (adult) court. If you do, you may not be able to seal your juvenile record.
3) You can show the court that you have been “rehabilitated.”
4) Your case started and ended in juvenile court.
5) You do not have an open civil suit regarding the actions that caused your juvenile record.
What Is A Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?
Moral turpitude crimes are crimes that reflect dishonesty or a deep lack of concern about what society views as right or wrong. This involves things such as fraud, theft, sex and drug-related offenses, and offenses involving great bodily injury are considered to involve moral turpitude.
As earlier stated, sealing your record is not automatic once your juvenile case ends. You must petition the court to have your records sealed.
If you would like to know more about sealing your juvenile record, feel free to contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William Weinberg at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.