Sealing your juvenile record can make it easier to find a job, get a driver’s license or a loan, rent an apartment, or go to college because you can legally say – in most cases – that you do not have a record. This is because sealing your record means that those records no longer exist by law. This includes all the records held by law enforcement, the district attorney, probation, and the courts.
In some cases, the court will automatically order your records sealed. In others, the court must grant a petition requesting your records be sealed.
The court is supposed to automatically seal your record in two situations. The court is automatically supposed to seal your record if you successfully completed a deferred entry of judgment. Alternatively, the court will automatically seal your record if your case was:
If you did not complete your probation or deferred entry of judgment successfully or your case was dismissed before January 1, 2015, you may still qualify to have your record sealed through a petition.
There are two ways you can have your juvenile records sealed: (1) Welfare and Institutions Code 781 and Penal Code Section 851.7.
1) Welfare and Institutions Code 781: Sealing Juvenile Record Convictions
If you were convicted of the offense, you are eligible to have your juvenile records sealed if:
2) Penal Code Section 851.7: Sealing Juvenile Records Where No Convictions
If you were never convicted of an offense for which you were arrested as a minor, you are eligible to have your record sealed under Penal Code Section 851.7 if you were convicted of misdemeanor and either:
Sealing your records means that you can honestly say you do not have a criminal record when asked about your criminal history in most cases. This will stop employers, state licensing agencies, lenders, school agencies, and landlords from discriminating against you based on your record. If you were required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290, you will no longer have to register as a sex offender.
It is important to note that even when your record is sealed, there are certain circumstances where your record may be reopened: