Many people think that juvenile convictions (technically called “adjudications”) and juvenile records are automatically sealed once you turn 18. Unfortunately, that’s not true. While juvenile proceedings are generally confidential, the records and convictions do not just go away once you (or your child) turn 18.
There are procedures though, where I can petition the court to have your juvenile records sealed.
What are the benefits to getting a juvenile record sealed?
Once the court has ordered the records to be sealed, the proceedings in the case shall be deemed to never have occurred, and you may legally indicate that you were never adjudicated or even arrested for the matters that were sealed. This applies not only to the court records, but also the police department and any other agency in possession of records that pertain to your case. When the records are ordered sealed by the court, each agency that has records about your case seals them, then maintains them sealed until you turn 38 years old. The records must then be destroyed unless the original sealing order requires them to be kept under seal beyond that time.
***Note: Not every juvenile case can be sealed. There are limitations on certain violent offenses and sealing records does not impact the DMV and their decisions on licensing. Contact me for additional information. For information about clearing your records for convictions as an adult, see here.