Sealing of Juvenile Record

Sealing of Juvenile Record

California Expungement Attorney - Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records - Expungement Lawyer

The old adage of boys will be boys has certainly proved to be true through the ages. This can lead to a number of rather obvious problems, but also a few that you might not realize are going to occur when you are a minor. Specifically, any criminal offense you are found guilty of while a minor can follow you around for the rest of your life unless take action to have it sealed. This process is known as the sealing of a juvenile record.

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How does the process work?

Step 1
The first step is to hire an attorney who will help you prepare for the expungement. They will assess your situation and develop a strong case for you.
Step 2
The next step is to file a motion of expungement with a California state court. Our attorneys will help you with all of the documentation that goes into filing for an expungement.
Step 3
A judge will be assigned to your case and will assess your petition for expungement. With a strong enough case, they will usually go ahead and expunge the conviction.
Step 4
If the judge decides to expunge your case, your conviction will be dismissed and cleared from all standard background checks.

Not Automatic

There is one aspect of law that is particularly dangerous. This aspect is a common belief that people rely on, which isn’t true. For instance, the vast majority of people believe that the criminal record of a juvenile is automatically sealed when the offending party turns 18. This is simply not true and the failure to have a firm like ours rectify this problem can lead to complete disaster.

The biggest problem with unsealed juvenile records is they go into the criminal data centers around the country and world just like any other crime. These systems do not differentiate between convictions on the issue of age. Practically speaking, this means that when a potential employer orders a background check on you, they will see your juvenile criminal record. You might be able to explain away the court records as youthful indiscretions, but then again you might not. Do you really want your employment to balance on such a precarious edge? You shouldn’t when there is an alternative to dealing with the problem.

Sealing a Juvenile Record

California law allows for the sealing of juvenile records when the juvenile passes into adulthood. This is incredibly good news. How so? The sealing of your record gives you a complete fresh start as you head into adulthood. When your record is sealed, it is removed from the criminal databases in your city, state and with the federal authorities. A potential employer looking into your background will see nothing and the police are prohibited from saying anything about what they might know as a matter of law. Thanks to a quirk in California law, you can even answer “no” to any documented questions regarding whether you have been convicted of a crime. Few people get such an opportunity for a fresh start, so it would be foolish of you not to take advantage of it.

Petition Process

As mentioned previously, one has to take action to get a juvenile record sealed. It does not just happen magically. The process is detailed in California Welfare and Institutions Code 781, which requires numerous details to be complied with before a judge will order the records sealed. Our firm specializes in these petitions. We will prepare evidence on your behalf and file the petition with the court. At that point, the matter will be appointed to a judge who will set a hearing date.

The hearing will involve the presentation of evidence by our attorneys on your behalf. The office of the District Attorney will also appear and be given the opportunity to argue against the sealing of the records. Other agencies, such as the Probation Department, may be asked to present evidence on the issue as well. Once the evidence is submitted in total, the judge will render a decision.

Wide Discretion

It is incredibly important that you understand the judge has wide discretion to render any decision he or she feels is appropriate. The judge is attempting to determine if you have truly been rehabilitated and are ready to be a benefit to society or not. If the judge determines you are likely to continue getting in trouble with the law, he or she will reject the petition. Given this, there are two things that are critical to a successful result. First, you must appear at all hearings in appropriate dress and acting in a respectful manner. Second, you must have competent counsel who can argue for your position and convince the judge that you are worthy of a new start, one that will lead to a fruitful life.

The judge will also look at the following factors when evaluating your case. If you fail to meet any of them, the petition will be rejected:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. You were not actually sent to juvenile hall for your youthful indiscretion. If you were, an alternative petition is required. [Contact us]
  3. You were not tried in adult court.
  4. You were not convicted for committing a serious crime such as murder, rape or arson. [Contact us for a full list].
  5. You haven’t been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude as an adult, a crime such as murder or rape for example.

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