Like many young people, you may have made choices that brought you before a California court. However, teenage offenses do not have to follow you throughout your whole life. In some situations, a court could seal your juvenile records.
You usually have to meet certain requirements to have your records sealed. According to the Judicial Branch of California, you have to wait five years after a court officially closes your juvenile case. There should also be a five-year period since you finished any necessary rehabilitation and probation. Additionally, you need to be over the age of 18.
Will a court always seal records?
A court may decline to seal juvenile records in some situations. Your offense might include sexual elements, for example. If you had to place yourself on a sex offender list, it may not be possible to take this step. A record with an adult conviction could also be ineligible.
What steps do you need to take?
If you are eligible to have your records sealed, you usually need to work with legal officials. You have to fill out paperwork explaining your juvenile offenses and submit these documents to a probation department. If you are older than 26, you may need to pay a fee.
Sealing your record can be a lengthy process. Officials at a probation department could take at least three months to examine your records. After this review, a court usually looks over your application and issues a decision. In some situations, there may be a hearing about your record.
Once a court seals your record, you no longer have to report these offenses. However, different people may still retain access to them. Some federal agencies, for example, could see your juvenile record if you choose to apply for a government job. Most employers, though, will be unable to access these documents.