If you watch crime shows on TV, you may think that juvenile criminal records are sealed as soon as a young person turns 18 and no one can ever see them again. That's not the case. Every state is different.
A juvenile criminal record can have life-limiting consequences, which is why the State of Texas has created a system to limit access to juvenile records, but it comes with conditions. The system is called Automatic Restriction of Access to Records and it means that no member of the public can see a juvenile criminal record after the person turns 21, but some restrictions apply.
Automatic Restriction of Access to Records occurs automatically when the young person reaches the age of 21. It seals the juvenile record, giving the young person a chance at a fresh start.
The Limits of Restricted Access
A young person's juvenile record is not eligible for Restricted Access if:
- They were convicted of a crime in juvenile court or deferred to adult criminal court after turning 17.
- They were charged with what would be a sex crime if they were an adult. (A juvenile sex offender may have the right to have their juvenile record sealed once they are no longer required to register as a sex offender.)
- They were convicted of a crime after turning 21, then their juvenile record becomes public again.
Sealing a Juvenile Record
Luckily, if you are not eligible for Restricted Access, it's possible that you may be eligible to have your juvenile record sealed or expunged. Talk to a juvenile defense attorney at Maddox Law to see if you qualify to get your record sealed or expunged. What's the difference?
- If your record is expunged, it is physically destroyed.
- If your record is sealed, it still physically exists but it is sealed with tape and is not available to the public.
To seal or expunge a juvenile record, you will need to go to court, but it is well worth the effort, if you qualify. If a juvenile record is sealed or expunged, the young person can legally say on job applications, housing applications, and occupational licenses that they have no criminal record, and have not been arrested, convicted or adjudicated for a crime.
Call a Juvenile Defense Lawyer to Seal or Expunge a Juvenile Record
Come into my office to talk. I can explain who qualifies for sealing a juvenile record or expunging a juvenile record. We'll review your case to see if you qualify. If you do, I'll take you step by step through the process until you arrive at the other side, with a clean slate. Call Maddox Law at 972-546-2496 or contact me online.