Daily Archives: June 1, 2012

Sealing Juvenile Records in California

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Are prospective employers, state licensing agencies, lenders, landlords, and school officials discriminating against you based on your indiscretion as a youth?

If you have a juvenile criminal record, now is the time to have it sealed.  Despite common misperception, juvenile records are not automatically sealed once you turn 18.  In fact, these records will remain accessible until you obtain a judicial order to seal and destroy them.

We can help you seal your California juvenile criminal record so that you may proudly present yourself as the most qualified candidate. 

What’s in a California Arrest Record?
Your California juvenile record includes every report and court record having to do with any criminal activity you were involved in as a minor (that is, while you were under 18). This includes: arrest reports, judge’s findings and rulings, exhibits, and probation reports.

Cleaning up your Criminal Record – Sealing Juvenile Records

When the court grants your petition to “seal” these records, it closes your file so that these documents essentially cease to exist. They are no longer public records.

The whole point of the process is to alleviate further stigmatization of a former juvenile offender. So, after you seal your juvenile records, you can answer “no” if you are ever asked:

  1. if you were ever arrested,
  2. if you have a criminal record, or
  3. even if you have a sealed record.
Under California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 781, you have the legal right to seal your juvenile records. This right is available in most juvenile cases, with certain exceptions. In order to seal your juvenile record, your juvenile law attorney must petition the court and your probation officer to have your record sealed.
How to Qualify to Have Your Juvenile Records Sealed
Typically, your attorney is entitled to petition the juvenile court to seal your records once you turn 18 years old. However, some courts require a period of “good behavior” between the end of juvenile probation and the filing of a petition. You must also pay in full all previous fines or restitution owed to the court as an adult or juvenile, including any traffic fines.
You must not have been convicted as an adult of any felony or misdemeanor crimes involving “moral turpitude.” Crimes of moral turpitudeare those that demonstrate a depravity of moral character in violation of the accepted moral standards of the community. Such crimes include theft, fraud, sex, or drugs.
Your attorney must be able to demonstrate to the court:
  1. That you have been rehabilitated;
  2. That your case started and ended in juvenile court; AND
  3. That you do not have an ongoing civil suit regarding the underlying actions of your juvenile record.
If you were convicted for offenses such as murder, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, arson, robbery, certain sex offenses, kidnapping, certain types of assault, or any other violent felony, you may not qualify to have your criminal record sealed.
Having a juvenile record may affect your life even once you have completed your juvenile probation. It may make it more difficult for you to get a job or to go to the college of your choice.  Sealing your juvenile records can help you move on with your life.

If you have a juvenile record and wish to seal them so that you can be free to pursue certain opportunities, contact the Orange County defense firm of Don Ho, LLP who can help you restore your record to a time prior to any juvenile adjudication.

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