You don’t want childhood mistakes to affect the rest of your child’s life … nobody does … and we’re often asked, “Will my juvenile’s record get expunged after becoming an adult?”
This is a great question to ask, because it’s not something that always happens automatically.
Before 18, Juvenile Records are Confidential and Inaccessible
Before your child turns 18, any juvenile justice system records — from both law enforcement and court proceedings — are kept confidential. Generally, the only people who can access them are:
- The child’s parent or legal guardian
- The child
- Court personnel
- Law enforcement and/or probation officers who are actively involved in proceedings involving the child
Anyone else who wants access to a juvenile’s record must petition the court and get a court order from the judge presiding over the case to do so.
After 18, Some Records are Sealed Automatically
Some juvenile records are sealed automatically when the child becomes an adult at 18.
For example, the records are sealed automatically when:
- The case is dismissed by the juvenile court (applicable for cases dismissed after January 1, 2015)
- The offense isn’t one listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b)
- The juvenile successfully completes probation
- The juvenile successfully completes a pre-petition diversion program instead of going to court
- The juvenile successfully completes probation after admitting to charges under a Deferred Entry of Judgment
After 18, You Can Petition to Seal a Juvenile Record
If the juvenile records weren’t sealed automatically, you can ask for them to be sealed once the child is an adult.
Generally, the process includes filling out an official form and turning it in to the probation department or court where the case happened. Then the court reviews the request and makes a decision. The decision can happen with or without a hearing.
You don’t want your child’s legal trouble to follow them into their adult lives, so it’s important to stay on top of whether the records have been sealed or not.
What Sealing a Juvenile Record Means for the Adult
Once the court seals a juvenile record, it’s as if the case no longer exits … at least for most cases. (There may be exceptions for federal security clearance or military enlistment.)
Once the records are sealed, your adult child can legally and truthfully say they do not have a criminal record. They DO NOT have to disclose sealed juvenile records on future job, school, housing, or loan applications.
It is like wiping the slate clean and giving them a fresh start as an adult.
Legal Help with Getting Juvenile Records Expunged After Becoming an Adult
Sally is committed to helping you protect your child’s future.
We invite you to contact us today for a free consultation to make sure your child’s juvenile records get properly and permanently sealed.