Missteps you made as a teenager or kid can have serious lifelong consequences. Particularly, juvenile crimes may prevent you from finding a prospective job in future and affect negatively when dealing with licensing agencies, lenders or landlords. There is a widespread misconception that one’s juvenile records are automatically sealed once he/she turns 18. The truth is that juvenile records are not automatically sealed with becoming an adult unless you obtain a judicial order to seal and destroy them under WIC 781. The juvenile records sealing requirements vary from state to state. In California, if you have a juvenile criminal record, you should consider having it sealed under Welfare and Institutions Code 781 WIC. The benefits of sealing your juvenile records include:
- Once the juvenile records are sealed, the arrest, prosecution and conviction records are physically sealed subsequently.
- The crime is considered as to have never occurred.
- You gain a chance to start your adult life with a clean slate.
- Your prior juvenile missteps will not stand on the way of your career success.
Eligibility for Juvenile Record Sealing
If you have a California juvenile criminal record, you are eligible for sealing your records under Code 781 WIC and make a fresh start in your life. Here are the basic requirements of juvenile records sealing in California:
- You are 18 or older;
- Five years have passed since the jurisdiction of the juvenile court terminated;
- The court is satisfied with your rehabilitation;
- You have not been convicted of a California felony or a California misdemeanor involving moral turpitude as an adult;
- You were not convicted in juvenile court of one of a select list of particularly serious offense, committed after you turned 14. The 07(b) offenses listed under California Welfare and Institutions Code § 707(b) are considered serious or violent in nature. These offenses include murder (also attempted), robbery, arson, rape, kidnapping, a violent felony and many more.
The Juvenile Records Sealing Process in California
The juvenile record sealing process is not an easy one, however, it is worth the time and resources spent. In California, it usually takes from eight to ten months to clear one’s juvenile records. The process starts with filing petition in the California juvenile court, in the county where you were convicted. After your criminal defense attorney files the petition, a hearing date will be issued by the court. Generally, you will not have to attend court, instead, California criminal defense attorney can appear on your behalf. Yet, in some cases, the judge may decide to interview you in person. On the hearing day, the judge will review your petition and all the relevant information to make the final decision. Proceeding from your information, the judge will decide whether to:
- Grant the petition to seal the juvenile records. Sealing your juvenile records means you have the right not to disclose them in a job interview or renting a house. After granting the petition to seal your records, the court will send copies of the order to all agencies who have possession or access to your records, instructing them to seal your juvenile records.
- Deny the petition to seal your juvenile record. In the event your WIC 781 petition is denied, you may try again at a later date.
To ensure the petition is granted from the very first attempt, it will be wise to consult with a knowledgeable California juvenile crimes defense attorney. The experiences and skillful juvenile crimes defense attorneys at the Margarian Law firm are well aware of California’s juvenile court system and master all the defenses for getting a successful outcome. They acknowledge the importance of clearing your name by sealing juvenile crimes and preventing their long-lasting negative impact on your life. They are eager to put all their knowledge, professionalism and experience into action to help you move forward in life without the burden of your juvenile missteps.