Sealing Juvenile Records in California

Sealing Juvenile Records in California

It’s no secret that teenagers can have errors in judgement and succumb to peer pressure. Sometimes, these mistakes lead to an arrest and long-lasting consequences that can haunt the individual well into adulthood. If you got into trouble with the law when you were under 18, the following entities may have records of it:

  • The courts
  • The police
  • The school(s) you attended
  • Other public entities

How would you like those juvenile records to be sealed? If they could be sealed, would your life be easier? You bet it would. With your records being sealed, it would open a lot of doors and make life easier as a whole. It would be easier to find housing and employment. It would be easier to get a loan and go to college.

“But aren’t all juvenile records sealed automatically?” Not necessarily. In some cases, juvenile records are sealed automatically, but in other cases, the defendant must petition the court to seal his or her records. This is especially the case with violent offenses. As a general rule, the less serious offenses are the ones to be sealed automatically.

Types of offenses that are not automatically sealed:

  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Certain drug offenses
  • Certain weapons offenses

Was your case dismissed by the juvenile court after January 1, 2015? If you successfully completed your probation and you did NOT commit one of the offenses listed above at the age of 14 or older, the court may have automatically sealed your juvenile records. The California courts seal juvenile records for minor offenses automatically when youth complete all of the conditions required by the court.

In order for juvenile records to be sealed automatically, the juvenile offender must have successfully completed their probation, otherwise the records cannot be sealed. If there is any question about whether you completed your probation, we encourage you to contact our firm so we can look into the matter for you.

Are Records Sealed from Everyone?

When juvenile records are sealed, they are essentially inaccessible to the general public, but certain government agencies and entities can still access them. Those who may still see them, include:

  • Prosecutors,
  • The court if you apply for benefits as a non-minor dependent while in extended foster care,
  • Probation, if you’re charged with a felony in the future,
  • The juvenile court, if you’re later charged with a new felony, and
  • Child welfare if you are in foster care.

Suppose one of these entities looks at your juvenile records. Even if they see the records, your records will still remain sealed. You won’t have to petition the court to seal them all over again.

Related: Court Appearances in Alameda County

To learn more about sealing juvenile records in Oakland and the East Bay, contact our office for a free case evaluation.

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