Can You Remove The Criminal Records That You Had As A Youth?

Many employers conduct extensive background and criminal record checks on job applicants before allowing them to become official employees. If you have a juvenile criminal record, the legal tool of record expungement (sealing) can prevent your adult career opportunities from suffering the consequences of the mistakes that you made as a youth. With a better understanding of record sealing, you will be able to determine your eligibility, and gain some valuable background information before consulting with representatives who provide legal services.  

Are You Eligible For Record Sealing?

In some states, juvenile records are automatically sealed once the offender reaches a certain age. However, most states require ex-youth offenders to file a petition. While the terms of eligibility for this petition vary between each state, there are nonetheless some general rules that apply.

To start, the individual who wants his or her youth records to be sealed must be an adult (18 or older). His or her eligibility will also depend on the date of the last offense that the offender committed as a youth. According to Nolo, most states do not grant approvals to petition requests that are made within 5 years after the offense was committed.

Eligibility will depend on the seriousness of the offense. A youth offense that would be considered a felony in an adult court, such as aggravated assault or trafficking, generally cannot be expunged. Fourth, eligibility will most likely be denied if the applicant had received additional sentences after his or her first youth offense.

If after determining that you are eligible for record sealing, you need to file the petition with the court clerk of the juvenile court in the county that your offense was committed in. The filing process usually requires a small fee.

What Happens After Your Record Gets Sealed?

Once your juvenile record becomes sealed, you have the option of not declaring your criminal past to your employers. Likewise, employers, educational facilities and most government institutions will not find anything if they run a background check on you.

However, record sealing does not mean that your sealed offenses will disappear from the judicial system. That said, if you ever become convicted of a crime again, prosecutors will be able to use your sealed, youth records against you to impose a more severe sentence.

The background checks that law enforcement agencies conduct can also find your sealed records. Further, certain government agencies can find expunged records if the records are relevant to their investigation. For instance, insurance agents may have access to your previous driving offenses and violation tickets if you become involved in a crash. This is because investigating the driving history of each motorist can help investigators find the at-fault party.

What does "Ban The Box" Mean?

Before filing an expungement petition, it can be useful to check if your intended place of employment follows the rule called, "ban the box." As The New York Times reports, one of America's largest retail chains took actions in 2013 to omit questions concerning an applicant's criminal past on their application forms. This triggered a chain reaction, causing many other retail stores across the country to do the same.

The reason behind this movement is to help ex-offenders reintegrate themselves into society through the field of employment. Of course, your employer may still conduct a background check if you pass the initial interviews, and advance into the later stages of the application process.


In order to successfully expunge your youth criminal records, you must make sure that you meet the criteria. With your understanding of record expungement, as well as the eligibility requirements, you are now equipped with the necessary information to discuss your case with a legal expert at places like

About Me

Exploring Learning Styles

Hi, my name is Emily. I look forward to discussing the various ways people learn. The educational system has to tailor their program to the needs of the many. This often results in a few people having to develop their own system for learning. People who learn best visually, for example, may need to convert lecture information into flashcards and study them on their own time. I hope to explore the ways people can approach the educational process successfully by integrating methods geared toward their learning style. I will update this site often, so continue visiting daily to learn new information. Thank you.

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