How to Get Juvenile Records Expunged
When juveniles are convicted of a crime, the stain can follow them throughout their lives. It can affect educational opportunities, credit ratings, the ability to join the military, and the pursuit of job prospects. This can be true even if the information in the files is outdated or just plain wrong. Fortunately, there is a solution — expungement.
When juvenile court records are expunged, they are erased from the state authorities’ files and computer system and can no longer be seen by employers or credit agencies.
The ease with which juvenile court records can be expunged depends on rulings issued by the juvenile court:
- If the charges are dismissed because they are unsubstantiated or by court order, the court automatically orders expungement upon the juvenile’s application.
- After expiration of a consent decree, where a child is subject to a set of conditions for a set time — usually six months to a year — the child’s record may be automatically expunged upon application to the court.
- The judge may grant the expungement within 30 days if more than five years have passed since an adjudication of delinquency and during this period the juvenile —
Has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor
Has not been found delinquent
Has no proceeding pending that seeks conviction or adjudication
Has not inspired a showing of good cause as to why the expungement should not be granted
If five years have not elapsed since the adjudication, but the juvenile has reached 18 years of age, a petition can be submitted to the court for expungement. If the district attorney consents to the expungement, the court decides whether to order the expungement upon considering several factors. These include the type of offense, the individual’s age, history of employment, criminal activity and drug and alcohol problems. Adverse consequences that the individual may suffer if the records are not expunged, and whether retention of the record is required to protect public safety are considered.
If you have ever been through the juvenile justice system, it is important to get your records expunged. Your future may depend on it. Contact a veteran criminal defense attorney with experience in expungements today.