A conviction of a crime will result in the creation of a record, whether as a juvenile or as an adult. A criminal record is considered a reflection of your past behavior and character. Having a criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, obtain certain state benefits, run for public office, get a loan, or even travel. It is a common misconception that juvenile records do not matter, or that they go away once you are an adult. Unless you take action, your juvenile record will appear on your criminal record even after you turn 18.
If you have a juvenile record in Orange County, you can petition for your records to be sealed once you turn 18. Once your records are sealed, no one, not even a potential employer, will gain access to them. Furthermore, the successful petition means your juvenile records will be destroyed five years after they are sealed.
It is important to understand that your juvenile records will not automatically get sealed once you are an adult. In fact, your records will not be destroyed without a petition until you turn 38. If you want your records sealed and ultimately destroyed sooner, you will have to petition the juvenile court. You can contact the Orange County Probation Department directly, or have a skilled juvenile criminal defense attorney help you initiate the record sealing process.
You may also be able to have your record dismissed by graduating from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice. This is an option available for young offenders up to the age of 25. This is reserved, however, for only those with the most serious criminal backgrounds. The majority of youthful offenders are committed to county facilities near where they are from so that they are closer to their families.
To move on with your life and start fresh, it is important that all juveniles and adults consider taking action to clean up their record. While it is a complex process, an experienced Orange County criminal defense lawyer will be able to help individuals and families navigate it and help you prepare and complete a successful petition.
David A. Stein has experience working within the Orange County juvenile justice system. Get a no-cost consultation on your options for sealing juvenile records or expunging your record. Call (949) 445-0040 today or contact us online by email here.