Having a criminal record can seriously mess up your life. It can keep you from being employed, from getting into the college of your choice, from entering into the Armed Forces or from working in certain professions such as teacher, childcare worker or lawyer. To the extent that you have a record and it can be done, it is advisable to have it expunged as soon as possible.
Juvenile criminal records are not automatically expunged once the offender is no longer subject to the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction. To get the records expunged, the offender files a Petition for Expungement with the Juvenile Court in the county in which the offense was committed. A hearing is then scheduled before a judge to determine it the request for expungement should be granted. The court will order the records expunged if:
1.The original charges were dismissed or not proven true.
2. Six months have passed since the successful completion of a consent decree (a pretrial program where the case will be dropped if the offender successfully completes terms and conditions as set by a judge or juvenile master).
3. Five years have elapsed since the offender was released from the jurisdiction of Juvenile Court and no other charges have been filed against him.
In addition, the petition may be granted under circumstances where less than five years have elapsed. The court can order records to be expunged when the offender is over 18 and the district attorney consents to the expungement. Before ordering the expungement, the judge must weigh factors such as the gravity of the offense, the age of the offender, any further criminal history, adult and juvenile, the adverse consequences to the juvenile if expungement is not granted and the public’s interest in having the records maintained.