At Wilfert Law P.C., one of the most popular questions our Ventura juvenile criminal defense attorney receives from our clients is, “Are juvenile records automatically sealed upon turning 18 years of age?”
The simple answer is, “No.” A special petition must be filed in the juvenile court to have them sealed.
It is important to know that when your records are sealed, the records of the arrest, detention, prosecution, and conviction are inaccessible to prospective employers, state licensing agencies, landlords, lenders, and school officials. It will appear as if the offense has never occurred and you can start adulthood on a “clean” slate.
You may be eligible to have your juvenile record sealed if all of the following are true:
- You are 18 or older, or five years have passed since the jurisdiction of the juvenile court terminated.
- You have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude (dishonesty or conduct that shocks the public conscience) as an adult.
- You were not convicted in juvenile court of one of a select list of specific serious offenses (such as murder, sexual assault, or robbery) committed after you turned 14 years old.
The process of sealing your California juvenile record takes—on average—eight to ten months. You file your petition in the California juvenile court in the county in which you were most recently convicted.
In most cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can appear on your behalf. However, the judge may choose to interview you in person.
As soon as your attorney files the petition, the judge sets a hearing date. At the hearing, the judge reviews your petition and any evidence presented by you, the local county's Department of Probation, the District Attorney, or anyone else that has relevant information.
To help ensure that your petition is granted the first time around, it is wise to schedule a free consultation with our Ventura criminal defense attorney today.