What happens if you committed a crime a few years ago when you were still just a child? Can you get the fresh start you always wanted so that you don’t have such a hard time getting your dream job or finding an apartment you want? You may be able to file a petition in court seeking expungement, which is also known as record sealing. This will typically allow you to tell employers, landlords, and licensing agencies that you have never been convicted of a crime. However, you may need to meet eligibility to be able to do so.
Am I Eligible For Record Sealing?
- Age Factor: If you are seeking expungement, you must be an adult. In many states, this means that you need to be at least 18 years old.
- When was the offense committed? In most states, a juvenile record can’t be sealed until five years have passed from the date of the offense or from the end of the court proceedings.
- What is the type of offense? The type of offenses that can be expunged may be limited. If there is a felony on the record, then it can often not be removed.
- Subsequent arrests or convictions: In many states, if you have committed a crime as an adult and want your record sealed, they will not allow it.
Asking the Courts to Seal Your Records
Sometimes in California, the court automatically seals records. However, if they have not been, you will need to ask the court to seal them. In many counties in the state, you will have to contact the probation department to have the records sealed. You will be able to file a petition asking for permission. You will qualify to have your juvenile records sealed if you are at least 18 and it has been 5 years since your case was closed or your last contact with probation and a judge’s decision.
You may wonder how long the process takes. If your records are located in one California county, then the probation department will have 90 days to review your forms and let the court know if you are eligible to seal your record. If there is cases open in more than one county, the probation department has 180 days to do the review. You may have to go to a hearing, with or without penalty (JCC).
Is There an Impact of Sealing Your Juvenile Records?
If your juvenile records are expunged, then it will almost be like they have never happened. If an employer or any other entity chooses to do a background check on you, your juvenile court history will not show up. This can mean huge advantages to you when it means someone will be inquiring about it to make big impacts on your life. However, in some situations, the expungement will not be absolute. If you are applying for a job with a law enforcement agency, your record will usually be visible. Juvenile offenses are also sometimes used to increase the severity of a sentence that is handed down after a later juvenile offense or criminal court conviction (Michon).
Your best bet is to speak to an attorney that is knowledgeable on the subject of expungement. You may have options that you never would have even thought of. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today to find out where you stand.