Having a Juvenile Record in California
In the state of California, those who are minors (under 18 years of age) can be tried for a criminal offence as a juvenile, and not as an adult. The distinction between juvenile and adult is an important one, as the court process and final sentencing vary widely between the two. If as a minor you had a criminal court case or were arrested and then had to go through the system, you will have a juvenile record. For various reasons, this record can potentially be sealed, and this article provides a general summary of the process.
How Can the Records be Sealed?
For certain cases, juvenile records can be sealed without having to ask the court to do so. You will already know if your case has been sealed or not. However, others will have to petition for it to become sealed. Depending on what county in California you live in, there will be a different set of steps for record sealing. However, the general guidelines include the following: you will have to reach out to your probation department. The probation officials will then step in to guide you with a petition to the court for your juvenile records to be sealed.
Who Can Seal their Juvenile Record?
Not every single person who has a juvenile record can have it sealed. Those who are interested in filing a petition, have to be at least 18 years old (no longer a minor). Furthermore, five years must have passed since the closing of your juvenile case or at least from when you had contact with your respective probation department. The above does not apply to individuals who were found guilty of serious crimes or ended up being tried as an adult. The former group cannot have the record sealed and the latter ended up with an adult record, not a juvenile one. With all of the above info in mind, if you are seeking to seal your juvenile record, speak with an attorney to see what the right steps are for you, and if you qualify for the process.