Juvenile Record Can Be Sealed, But It Isn’t Automatic
Today I was able to help a young lady seal her juvenile records. I get calls all the time from young adults, or parents asking why something from years ago is popping up on a criminal background check. The answer is, juvenile records are not automatically sealed.
There is a system in Texas that makes it harder for individuals to get someone’s juvenile criminal record, but the records are not sealed automatically, so it is possible to have them pop up (and it does happen often). This particular client was about to start a professional school program, so record sealing was very important to help her get her career started.
Can My Juvenile Record Be Sealed?
Many people ask me if their record can be sealed. The answer is no, you are not eligible to get your record sealed if:
You have received a determinate sentence (which is basically a sentence where is starts off in TYC with the possibility of moving to the adult prison TDCJ) adjudication for one of these types of cases:
- Murder, Attempted Murder, Manslaughter
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Assault or Aggravated Robbery
- Causing Injury to a Child, Elderly Person, or Disabled Person
- Deadly Conduct with a Firearm
- Big drug case (usually more than 200 grams)
- Criminal Solicitation
- Indecency with a Child
- Conspiracy to commit any of the above 5
- You have to register to the Texas Sex Offender Registration Program.
- Your case was certified, and you were charged as an adult
- You have engaged in “habitual felony conduct” (which is usually 3 cases over 3rd degree felony) for which you received a determinate sentence.
If your case is eligible to be sealed, you file your petition with the court where you were charged, and request a hearing date. At the hearing date the judge will decide whether or not to grant the sealing. In my cases I always contact the Assistant District Attorney in the case to ask if they are opposed or unopposed to my petition. If they are unopposed it is usually very easy, and the Judge signs no questions asked. But if it is opposed you must be prepared to give the reasons why an individual deserves to have their record sealed (both legally and in the interest of justice).
Juvenile Record Sealing: What Happens Next
Once the judge signs the order, I send certified court copies of the order to all of the agencies that have my clients records and they are given up to 61 days to comply. Usually the agencies comply much quicker than 61 days, but they are given up to that amount of time.
Juvenile record sealing can be confusing, but it is very important to protect your record!