We all make mistakes, especially when we’re in our teens. Young people
can be very impressionable. They can be coerced into doing things they
wouldn’t normally do by friends. They can have an error in judgement,
which can lead to school suspension, criminal charges and a juvenile record.
Sometimes, a youth is disadvantaged from the start: They’re raised
by a single parent in a poor neighborhood and gravitate towards gangs
for protection and survival. By virtue of their birth, they face the odds
from the moment they take their first breath.
In California, if a minor (someone under eighteen) is arrested for a crime,
or if they are involved in the juvenile justice system, or if they are
somehow involved in a criminal case, the police, the courts and even schools
may have access to the juvenile’s records.
If someone has a
juvenile record because of the above reasons, it could be a lot easier for him
or her to go to college, obtain a college scholarship, play on a college
sport team, get a job, get a California driver’s license, get approved
for a loan and even rent an apartment if they’re able to get their
juvenile records sealed.
“Aren’t juvenile records sealed automatically?” In some
cases they are, but in other cases they are not sealed unless the individual
asks the court to seal their records. In order to do this, such a person
would have to file the appropriate petition.
Benefits of Sealing Your Juvenile Records
If you’re on the fence about filing a petition with the court, we
ask you to consider the benefits of sealing your records, which include:
- You can legally say, “I don’t have a criminal record.”
- Your court case will no longer exist.
- Your criminal record will no longer be accessible to schools and employers
(with limited exceptions).
- Your juvenile record will no longer affect your ability to get a loan,
a scholarship or housing.
Note: Sealing your juvenile records has many benefits, however, it may still
be visible if you try to join the Armed Forces or if you apply for federal
security clearance. Additionally, you may not qualify to have your juvenile
records sealed if you did not successfully complete your probation, or
if you committed a
violent offense, such as kidnapping,
murder and you were between the ages of 14 and 17 when you committed the offense.
To learn more about sealing your juvenile records, or sealing the records
of your son or daughter, contact our Orange County criminal defense firm today.