How to Seal Your Juvenile Records: What Every Juvenile Should Know

What it means to “seal” your juvenile record:

  • Your California juvenile record includes every report and court record having to do with any criminal activity you were involved in as a minor. This may include:
    • Arrests reports
    • Judge’s findings and rulings
    • Exhibits, and
    • Probation reports
  • When courts grant your petition to “seal” these records, it closes your file so that these documents essentially cease to exist—they are no longer public records.

Who is eligible to seal their California juvenile records?

  • You are 18 years of age or older OR at least five years have passed since your last arrest, discharge from probation, closure of case, or citation to appear;
  • You have not been convicted in criminal (adult) court of a felony or a misdemeanor involving "moral turpitude" (including fraud, theft, sex, drug-related offenses, and offenses involving great bodily injury) since your last arrest or discharge from probation;
  • The court is satisfied that you have been rehabilitated;
  • Your case started and ended in juvenile court; and
  • You do not have an open civil suit regarding the case on your juvenile record.

What CANNOT Be Sealed? 

  • Any juvenile records for an offense where the person is convicted of that offense in an adult criminal court
  • Any records that involve a person who has been found by the juvenile court to have committed a serious and violent offense when she/he was 14 years or older.

Why should you seal your record?

Your juvenile record will not be automatically sealed when you turn 18. You need to obtain a judicial order to seal it; until then, might be accessible to prospective employers, state licensing agencies, lenders, landlords, and school officials. That means your juvenile record can interfere with your ability to get a job, loans, a driver's license, citizenship, and pursue educational opportunities.

If you have been adjudicated for a registerable sex offense, sealing your record will relieve you from the registration requirement and destroy all registration information.

Once you've sealed your record, it's as if the offenses never took place (with the exceptions below). You can legally say you have never been arrested or adjudicated for the sealed offenses. You can even legally say you have never sealed your juvenile record.

Update October 2015

A new law was passed that allows anyone who completed probation after January 1, 2015, to have their juvenile record automatically sealed for FREE by the court. (Welfare and Institutions Code §786). Any records held by law enforcement, probation and the Department of Justice (DOJ) must also be sealed. Records held by any other public agency, for example in schools or other counties, may not be automatically sealed, and you may need to ask the court to seal those records.

For cases that ended before January 2015, you must to petition the court to seal your record and pay your county's record sealing fees if you are age 26 or older. Contact your county's juvenile court to request information about your case.

How Do You Seal Your Juvenile Records?

  • Those seeking to seal their juvenile records can request to do so five years after the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court has been terminated, five years after the last juvenile citation, or any time after a minor has reached 18 years of age.
  • Fee: $85.17 (for individuals 26 or older) for record sealing in Santa Barbara. $0 for anyone under age 26. 
  • A photo identification card is required.  Those electing to submit an application for sealing via mail must provide a photocopy of their identification. 
  • You will need to submit a "Record Sealing Application" and "Affidavit and Petition for the Sealing of Records" to the County Probation Department, with the required fee.

To get the application forms to seal your juvenile records, contact the Santa Barbara Probation Department either in person, or by phone or by mail to have the materials sent to you. After you have reviewed the eligibility requirements for juvenile record sealing, return the completed application along with a copy of a photo I.D. and the $85.17 fee to the Probation Department by mail or in person.

SB 504: SEALING COURT RECORDS

The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will eliminate fees to have juvenile records sealed for those under the age of 26. Once SB 504 goes into effect January 1, 2016 the general fee to petition the court to seal records will be waived.

Process

After turning in your application

After receiving your application, a Probation Officer will conduct a background investigation and decide if you are eligible to have your juvenile record sealed. The investigation will be focused on your basic eligibility, a criminal background check, and evidence of rehabilitation. Based on this investigation, the probation officer will write a report either recommending that your record be sealed, or stating that you are not eligible to have your record sealed and why.

Court hearing

A court hearing may be held if any of the involved agencies object to you sealing your record, or if you and or your attorney request a hearing. If this is the case, the superior court will calendar a hearing with a judge, a probation officer, the district attorney, and possibly the objecting agency. In this case, it is recommended that the you and/or your attorney be present for the hearing.

Contacts  

Lompoc Office
415 E. Cypress Ave.
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 737-7800
Santa Maria Office
2121 S. Centerpointe Parkway
Santa Maria, CA 93455
(805) 739-8550
Santa Barbara Office
4500 Hollister Ave.
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
(805) 692-4840

For more information and/or support visit: http://sealitca.org/

Beyond Foster Care: Need for Services Beyond the Age of 21

This survey is for California former foster, Independent Living Program (ILP) eligible probation, and dual status youth ages 22 to 35. The purpose of the study is to explore the experiences and need for services of California former foster, ILP eligible probation, and dual status youth who are between the ages of 22 and 35. Participation in the study would last about 20 to 35 minutes. You may choose to withdraw your participation at any time. Your answers will be confidential. The information will be kept in a secure database with no identifying information for the duration of the study. 

The findings of this study will be used to provide suggestions for programs and services that will improve long-term outcomes for former foster, ILP eligible probation, and dual status youth. 

Visit this link in order to complete the survey! 


 

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