How Do I Seal My Child’s Juvenile Records?
A criminal record can follow a person for the rest of his or her life, impacting his or her ability to find housing, employment or even public benefits. Access to a juvenile record that is not sealed can become a major barrier to your child being accepted into college, obtaining financial aid and finding a job in the future. You should consider enlisting the help of an experienced juvenile defense lawyer to seal these records so your child can start over.
At The Law Office of Patricia Jay, we offer assistance to families who need assistance sealing juvenile records. We are familiar with the Texas Family Code procedure involved, and can walk you through completion of the court forms and the hearing procedure. Contact us online or at (210) 223-7100 to schedule a consultation with San Antonio juvenile defense lawyer Patricia Jay.
Information About Juvenile Records
A minor who has been involved with the juvenile justice system will have a juvenile record. The record can contain information relating to an arrest, trial documents, sentencing conditions and any diversion programs that may have been assigned. Basically, the information contained in a juvenile record is roughly equivalent to the same information in an adult’s criminal record. The key difference being it is much easier to have the juvenile record sealed.
Contrary to what some believe, a juvenile record is not automatically sealed when a child turns 18 in Texas. If you do not file the appropriate paperwork, most criminal justice agencies can still access the information and use it against the child if he or she is charged with a crime as an adult.
When a Record Cannot Be Sealed
A record cannot be sealed under some circumstances. They include some of the following situations:
- “Determinate sentence” adjudication for certain offenses involving sexual misconduct, dealing drugs and violence
- A felony that was moved from juvenile to adult criminal court.
- The juvenile was engaged in habitual felony conduct
- A conviction that required registration as a sex offender
A “determinate sentence” is an adjudication that involves a rehabilitation program with the potential for incarceration if the child is unsuccessful or uncooperative. This type of sentence is reserved for very serious crimes. An experienced juvenile attorney will need to review any such case to determine if sealing the record is possible.
How to Seal a Juvenile Record
Sealing a juvenile requires completing judicial paperwork called an Application for Sealing of Files and Records, which should be filed in the county where the original case took place. A judge will then decide whether to grant your request.
- If your juvenile offense was a misdemeanor, the judge must order your records sealed if it has been two years since your case was resolved and during that time, you did not get into any further trouble with the law.
- For felony cases, the court can only seal the record if the person convicted is, at the time of the request, 21 years old and has not been convicted of another felony since turning 17.
If your request is granted, the judge will issue an Order for Sealing of Files and Records.
Contact Our San Antonio Juvenile Crime Attorney Today
We invite you to contact us online or at (210) 223-7100 to discuss your family law, criminal law or collections matter with a qualified lawyer. We are located in downtown San Antonio. We offer free parking. Se habla español.