Sealing of Juvenile Records

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Can Juvenile Records be Sealed?

Yes, a person can petition a court to seal his or her records of juvenile arrest or detention.  

When can a Person Petition the Court to Seal a Juvenile Record?

In most cases, once a person reaches the age of eighteen they may petition the court to seal the records.  In cases where the juvenile offense or detention occurred at an early age, the court may be petitioned before the person reaches the age of 18.  The number of years varies from state to state, but is usually around five years.

When Will a Court Not Seal a Person's Juvenile Record?

Usually a court will not seal juvenile records if the offense is one that it would be considered a serious felony had it been committed by an adult, such as murder or a felony sex crime.  Also, if the person has committed a crime or offense between the time of the initial offense and the time of petition, the court may not grant that petition.

Records of Other People 

Even if a person's name is mentioned in another person's juvenile record, he or she cannot have that record sealed.  A person can only have records sealed if he or she is the subject of the record.

If I Want to Have my Juvenile Records Sealed, Should I See an Attorney?

Since laws for sealing juvenile records vary from state to state, it is important to consult an attorney in your state who is aware of the laws that can assist you in the legal process and inform you of your possibilities.

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Last Modified: 03-30-2012 01:47 PM PDT

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