When a minor (someone under the age of 18) in California is arrested or somehow involved in a criminal case or if they have contact with the juvenile court system, certain public agencies, such as public schools, the police, the courts, and others will have records of what the individual did. If the person is able to get their records sealed, it could make their life much easier.
It can make it easier for them to:
- Get a job
- Get a driver’s license
- Get a loan
- Rent an apartment or house
- Go to college
In certain situations, the court automatically seals juvenile records in California. When someone’s records are “sealed,” it means their court case does not exist anymore. For instance, if you have juvenile records and they are sealed, you can honestly and legally say you do not have a criminal record if you’re asked about it by someone or on an application. However, if you join the military or apply for federal security clearance, that’s not the case.
When Are Records Sealed Automatically?
In some cases, the court automatically seals someone’s juvenile records. If the juvenile court dismissed your case after January 1, 2015, and you were NOT found guilty of committing any of the following violent offenses when you were 14 or older, it may not be necessary to go back to court to ask to have your juvenile records sealed: rape, murder, kidnapping, certain drug and weapons offenses.
If you did not commit any of the above crimes, the court may automatically seal your records if you satisfactorily completed your probation. Generally, when the court finds that a juvenile over 14 was not found guilty of a violent offense or certain drug and weapons offenses, it must automatically seal the juvenile’s record if he or she satisfactorily completed their probation. What’s more, the court has to dismiss the juvenile’s case.
On the other hand, if you did not satisfactorily complete your probation, the court may not dismiss your case and it won’t automatically seal your records. If this is your situation and you want your juvenile records sealed, you’ll need to petition the court to seal your records. If you’re the parent of a juvenile who was recently caught up in the juvenile justice system, it’s important to pay close attention to the terms and conditions of your son or daughter’s probation so you can help them work to get their case dismissed.
If you need help getting your juvenile records sealed or if your child needs defense representation, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free consultation.