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Sealing and Expunging Juvenile Records II

A juvenile record may be sealed if the court finds that: (1) the petitioner has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, or adjudicated as juvenile delinquent since the termination of the court’s jurisdiction or the juvenile’s release from parole supervision; (2) there are no criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner; (3) the petitioner has been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the court; and (4) sealing the record is in the best interests of the petitioner and the community.

A juvenile record cannot be sealed for those: (1) adjudicated as an aggravated juvenile offender or a violent juvenile offender; (2) adjudicated for an offense that would constitute a crime of violence if the person had been an adult at the time of the offense; (3) charged as an adult for a crime committed when a juvenile; or (4) adjudicated for an offense involving unlawful sexual behavior.

The Effect

Once the court seals a juvenile record, it is considered nonexistent with regard to public information and inspection, but it is still available to the judge and probation department for use in any future juvenile or adult sentencing hearing regarding the person who is the subject of the record. In addition, a district attorney, local law enforcement, and the Department of Human Services may view basic identifying information contained in a sealed record; this information is not open to inspection by the public or an agency of the military.

The sealed record can only be viewed upon a finding of good cause at a court hearing.

The Process

Courts are required at the time of adjudication to advise defendants of the right to seal their juvenile record. A court may also initiate proceedings to seal the record. A petition must originate in the court that houses the record under consideration. The court sets a hearing date and notifies the prosecuting attorney and any other persons who might have relevant information related to sealing the record.

After the hearing, the court may order the records sealed. A person can petition the court to seal a juvenile record only once per year, and then only:

  1. immediately upon a finding of not guilty;
  2. one year after the date of contact with law enforcement if it did not result in a referral to another agency, or one year after completion of a juvenile diversion program;
  3. four years after termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile, or the juvenile’s release from commitment to the Department of Human Services or unconditional release from parole supervision; or
  4. ten years after termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile or the juvenile’s release from parole supervision, whichever date is later, if the juvenile has been adjudicated a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender, and has not committed another crime.
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"I found myself in criminal trouble, that I wasn't guilty of and thanks to Mr. Steinberg's dedication and hard work, right before we we're looking at having to continue on to trial level Mr. Steinberg was able to use his vast knowledge of the law and his many respected years in the system to find a way to show my innocence. After a very unsure and somewhat difficult time for me, this very skilled and knowledgeable attorney was able to find the right path to take to reach a dismissal in my case. For that I can't tell you how much I appreciate his representation and his excellent understanding and helpful personality. He's a great man and an even better attorney but don't misunderstand him, he is an attorney not a therapist. Thanks H." Josh
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