Due to the rehabilitative focus of juvenile courts, there is a system in place to reward those juveniles who have responded well to the court’s programs. Specifically, if a juvenile meets certain criteria, WILL & WILL, LLP can petition the court on his/her behalf to have the record sealed.
In certain cases, such as when a juvenile is placed on deferred entry of judgment (DEJ), the record is automatically sealed upon successful completion of the program. However, in most cases, the process is not automatic and can only be accomplished through a petition to the court. A hearing will then be held to decide whether or not to grant your petition. In making this determination a court will look to the following criteria:
(1) Whether the juvenile (you) are at least 18 years old or if five years have passed since your last arrest or discharge from probation;
(2) Whether you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude since your last arrest or probation discharge.
(3) Whether you have been rehabilitated;
(4) Whether your case started and ended in juvenile court; and
(5) Whether you have any open civil suits regarding the actions on your juvenile record.
If you meet the criteria, and are successful in having your case sealed, all records of your juvenile matter are eventually ordered destroyed, making it as though the proceedings never occurred. Thus if you are ever asked if you have any criminal record, you may legally answer NO. This is crucial for juveniles just starting out with job applications and/or college/graduate school applications. This is why you need WILL & WILL, LLP…to protect your future.
The ultimate decision of whether or not to grant your petition to seal your record lies with the Judge in the Court where the motion is heard. Thus, it is crucial to have an attorney familiar with those courts on your side. Once you retain WILL & WILL, LLP, not only do we compose the legal motion, but we also argue it in open court before the Judge. Furthermore, it is helpful to get the District Attorney’s Office on our side whenever possible. The lawyers at WILL & WILL, LLP will discuss your case with the prosecutor prior to arguing the motion. As a result, we are often successful at getting the District Attorney’s office on our side, rather than opposing our motion. Call WILL & WILL, LLP or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation about sealing your juvenile record.