Welfare and Institutions Code Section 781 permits persons who acquired records as juveniles to petition the juvenile court to have those records sealed. Once your records are sealed all records that are held by the police department, the courts, the district attorney, and the probation department will be sealed and/or destroyed. This process in effect makes it as if the juvenile offenses never occurred. Once sealed, if a person asks any of the above agencies about your sealed record, the law requires the agencies to answer that they have no record of that matter. The law also allows a person who has his juvenile record sealed to legally state that he was not adjudicated or arrested as a juvenile.
This procedure generally takes approximately seven to ten months. However, it may take longer depending on the court the petition is filed in and the complexity of the case.
- Goodman & Dicus, LLP will gather information about your case from a variety of sources.
- Our attorneys will review and analyze all of the available information related to your case.
- An attorney will prepare the petition to seal your juvenile records.
- An attorney will also draft a proposed order for the court.
- Our offices will file the petition and order with the juvenile court clerk.
- The court will then evaluate your case. The court will conduct a background search to make sure you have not been convicted of any felonies or crimes of moral turpitude. They will also review your petition for evidence that you have been rehabilitated.
- A hearing will then be scheduled regarding your petition.
- One of our attorneys will attend the hearing where the judge will determine if you are eligible to have your records sealed.
- If the petition is successful, the judge will order that your records be sealed.
- Our office will make sure that copies of the judge’s order are sent to the various agencies that maintain a copy of your record.
- These agencies will then be obligated to seal your record or send them to the juvenile court clerk who will destroy them.
- Our office will then follow-up with the appropriate agencies to make sure that the records have been sealed and/or destroyed.
* Note that because each case is unique and there are some procedural differences for each county in California your case may not follow our process outline exactly.
Am I eligible to have my juvenile records sealed?
In some cases your juvenile records are not automatically sealed. If you find that your juvenile record has not been sealed, our attorneys can evaluate your case and determine if you can petition to have your records sealed. In order to be eligible for juvenile record sealing, you must have reached the age of 18 or it must have been 5 years since the jurisdiction of the juvenile court has terminated. If you meet these criteria our attorneys can petition the court for an order to seal your juvenile court records, including records of arrest relating to your case in the custody of the juvenile court and probation officer and any other agencies, including law enforcement agencies and public officials. The law requires that since the termination of jurisdiction you have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and that you have been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the court.
What is a crime of moral turpitude?
A crime of moral turpitude is a crime that is said to reflect poorly on your morals and character, such as fraud, grand theft, sex and drug related crimes.
What do I say if I am asked about my juvenile record?
Once your juvenile record has been sealed, you can safely say that you have no juvenile record.
What happens to my records once they are sealed?
Once the records are ordered sealed, each agency in possession of such information must seal their information. The records are maintained “sealed” until the person who is the subject of the proceedings reaches the age of thirty-eight (38) at that time, they must be destroyed, unless the court determined at the time of the order for sealing that the records must be retained.