As people get older and more mature, they likely want to forget about those mistakes they made in their juvenile years. Additionally, they likely hope that no one finds out about their past. Depending upon the circumstances, you may be able to have your juvenile records sealed or expunged. However, you should know that this is not automatic and though your juvenile charges will not show up on background checks, there certain government agencies that will still be able to access your records.
Expungement, also known as sealing, of your juvenile records is basically closing them off to public access. Once criminal records have been sealed, you may legally tell employers, landlords, and others that you have no prior convictions and your records will appear as if the convictions never happened. However, you should know, that though the records will be closed to public access, there are certain government agencies that will still be able to access them. This means that if you’re charged for another crime in your adult life, the court can consider those prior convictions when charging you.
According to Montoya Shaffer, the Best criminal lawyer in Philadelphia, each state has their own rules regarding expungement of records, but there are some similarities as well. Basically, after you turn 18, you can apply to have your juvenile record sealed. In Oregon, though, you must wait for five years since your last contact with the juvenile court. Most states will allow you to have minor violations and misdemeanors expunged- however, felonies will always be there. Additionally, if you were charged, but never convicted, you can have those records sealed.
Records that Can’t Be Sealed
As a general rule, you’re not allowed to have DUI charges expunged. Some of the other criminal records that you cannot have expunged include serious drug charges, violent felonies, and most sexual crimes. Additionally, if you are currently involved with criminal activity or you are on probation, you cannot have your records sealed. Finally, if you have had criminal convictions as an adult, if you are currently being prosecuted for a crime, or if you have had any other records sealed in the last ten years, it is not likely that they will seal the records of your previous crimes.
How to Petition for Expungement
In order to have your juvenile records expunged, you’ll need to file an application with the probation department or juvenile court. You will need to contact the court clerk about details on which forms must be filed and where. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a fee. The court will then schedule a hearing to decide whether or not you meet the criteria for having your records sealed. Even if you do qualify, they still have the right to deny your request if it is in the public’s best interest.