The juvenile justice system is little understood. The juvenile justice system is not exactly the same as the criminal justice system, but they work together to rehabilitate youths who have broken the law. Unlike popular belief, your juvenile record is not destroyed once you turn 18. In fact, it is still visible as any adult convictions would be and will remain visible for quite some time unless you take action to clean up your record. We all make mistakes in our youths, and it would be a shame if those mistakes held you back from anything in your adult life. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for adults to be judged by their juvenile adjudications when applying for jobs, housing, or other opportunities. Luckily, the juvenile justice system in California is built to rehabilitative youth instead of simply punishing them. A juvenile charge can hold you back from certain things in your adult life, which can severely compromise rehabilitative efforts. Because of this, you do have the opportunity to clean up your juvenile record so you can move on with a clear conscious.
If you have made the decision to seal your juvenile record, you are probably wondering where you should start. As with many methods of cleaning up your criminal record, the process can be complicated and, in the end, the court can use its discretion when deciding whether or not to grant the request. For this reason, it is advised you become familiar with the process and consult with an attorney to make sure you have the best chance at having your request granted. If the court finds it in the interests of justice to seal and destroy your records, you may have your request granted.
To clean up your juvenile record, you must petition to have it sealed. Sealing is not exactly the same as having a conviction dismissed through the expungement process, which you must go through to have your adult criminal record cleaned. Sealing your record means absolutely no one has access to it and it will not visible in any way on a background check. After sealing, you records will be completely destroyed in five years. Being eligible to have your records sealed is a rare chance to completely wipe away your mistake. Once you are 18, you are eligible to petition to seal your record. You will have to file a form with the county court you were convicted by. The exact process will vary from court to court, so speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney or the court clerk about the specifics of the process in that county. Most counties will not charge a fee for this service, unlike the expungement process. If you do not petition to have your juvenile records sealed, they will be sealed and destroyed on your 38th birthday. That is a long time to wait to clear your juvenile record when you can petition for it as soon as you turn 18.
Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you want to have your juvenile records sealed and destroyed. The process can be complicated and will vary depending on in which county you were convicted. An attorney can ensure you complete the process successful and have your record sealed. Likewise, you may want to discuss the process of expungement with an attorney if you want an adult conviction to be cleared from your record. Cleaning your adult record will be a little difference than sealing and destroying your juvenile record. An adult conviction can be dismissed through the process of expungement. The arrest that is associated with the conviction will remain on your record though. The dismissal involves your case being opened and your plea being changed to innocent. The case will then be closed again and the charge will be dismissed. Again, the court will use discretion when deciding whether to grant such a request and will only grant it if the defendant can demonstrate that it would be in the interests of justice.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and want to seal your juvenile record, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens will assist you with sealing your juvenile record so you can move on with your life. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of dedicated criminal defense practice and can fight hard to make sure your criminal past doesn't hold you back. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.