Do you have questions about sealing a juvenile record in California? You can read our frequently asked questions below or just take our free online eligibility test to determine if your juvenile record is eligible for sealing.
Simply click on a question to see its answer:
Unfortunately, yes. Proposition 21 changed what juveniles are able to seal in two ways: a. If you were charged with a “serious violent felony” under 707(b) when you were 14 or older, you cannot seal this offense, and b. If your case was heard in adult court, and you were convicted in adult court, you cannot seal this record. However, you may be able to dismiss your conviction in adult court. Please see the section on our website on expungement.
Murder, Arson, as provided in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 451 of the Penal Code, Robbery, Rape with force, violence, or threat of great bodily harm, Sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm, A lewd or lascivious act as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code, Oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm, An offense specified in subdivision (a) of Section 289 of the Penal Code, Kidnapping for ransom, Kidnapping for purposes of robbery, Kidnapping with bodily harm, Attempted murder, Assault with a firearm or destructive device, Assault by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, Discharge of a firearm into an inhabited or occupied building, An offense described in Section 1203.09 of the Penal Code, an offense described in Section 12022.5 or 12022.53 of the Penal Code, A felony offense in which the minor personally used a weapon listed in subdivision (a) of Section 12020 of the Penal Code, A felony offense described in Section 136.1 or 137 of the Penal Code, Manufacturing, compounding, or selling one-half ounce or more of a salt or solution of a controlled substance specified in subdivision (e) of Section 11055 of the Health and Safety Code, A violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code, which also would constitute a felony violation of subdivision (b) of Section 186.22 of the Penal Code, Escape, by the use of force or violence, from a county juvenile hall, home, ranch, camp, or forestry camp in violation of subdivision (b) of Section 871 if great bodily injury is intentionally inflicted upon an employee of the juvenile facility during the commission of the escape, Torture as described in Sections 206 and 206.1 of the Penal Code, Aggravated mayhem, as described in Section 205 of the Penal Code, Carjacking, as described in Section 215 of the Penal Code, while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon, Kidnapping for purposes of sexual assault, as punishable in subdivision (b) of Section 209 of the Penal Code, Kidnapping as punishable in Section 209.5 of the Penal Code, The offense described in subdivision (c) of Section 12034 of the Penal Code, The offense described in Section 12308 of the Penal Code, Voluntary manslaughter, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 192 of the Penal Code.
If you have any felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude, then you are not eligible to seal your juvenile record. (Welfare and Institutions Code 781(a))
Neither the legislature nor the courts in California have provided a clear definition of what “moral turpitude” means for purposes of sealing juvenile records. However, based on court cases dealing with other issues, there are two classes of “moral turpitude” crimes. The first class is crimes that involve “general readiness to do evil.” See People v. Castro (1985); Clerici v. Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 224 Cal. App. 3d 1016 (1990). Examples of this include possession of a deadly weapon with intent to commit assault (People v. Rivera, 107 Cal. App. 4th 1374 (2003)), domestic violence (Donley v. Davi, 180 Cal. App. 4th 447), murder (People v. Johnson, 233 Cal. App. 3d 425 (1991), crimes involving drug trafficking (People v. Gabriel, 206 Cal. App. 4th 450 (2012); Clerici v. Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 224 Cal. App. 3d 1016 (1990)) and most sex crimes (People v. Chavez, 84 Cal. App. 4th 25 (2000)). The second class is crimes that involve dishonesty as an element, such as fraud, theft, or perjury. (People v. Hunt, 169 Cal. App. 3d 668 (1985)).
For a small fee, we can conduct research into what is on your juvenile record and determine what record clearing services you are eligible for in California. That research fee will be applied to any record sealing service that you hire us to handle on your behalf.
Juvenile record sealings must be filed and completed separately for each individual case. We charge per case. If you have multiple cases that are eligible, we do offer discounts if you sign up for more than one of our services.
If your offense is a “wobbler,” then you can file with the court to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor. A “wobbler” is an offense that could have been a misdemeanor or felony at the time of the conviction. It does not matter if you were sentenced to California Youth Authority. If you would like us to determine if your case is a “wobbler,” then you can call our office with the year of the conviction and the exact Penal Code section number of which you were convicted.
A juvenile record sealing can be denied for the following reasons: (1) the judge does not believe sealing your record will be in the interest of society, (2) an inaccuracy in the court file or application, (3) adult convictions you may have on your record, and (4) if your fines were not fully paid.
The statute and case law are not very clear on the issue. Therefore, it is a bit unclear. Expungement law states the person shall “be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which or she has been convicted” except as provided by the enumerated exceptions. Juvenile record sealing is not listed as one of the exceptions and is not mentioned in any of the case law so the argument could be made that it cannot be used against you.
Typically, no. We will attend any scheduled hearings for you. Occasionally the judge will specifically request the petitioner's appearance. If that occurs and you are unable to attend, we will do all we can to get your appearance excused by the court.
The average juvenile record sealing case takes approximately ten to eleven months depending on the court and the availability of the records.
But the length of your specific case will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case, whether the District Attorney objects to sealing your juvenile record and the amount of time that has passed since the incident.
If you would like to speed up the process then we suggest that you go to the court and get your case documents. The court is reluctant to release juvenile court records to someone other than the juvenile and it takes longer to have them released to our office versus the juvenile in the case.
We cannot expedite the process with the court, but we will do everything we can to get your case filed as soon as possible.
If, however,you would like to speed up the process, then we suggest that you go to the court and get your case documents. The court is reluctant to release juvenile court records to someone other than the juvenile and it takes longer to have them released to our office versus the juvenile in the case.
If your case is denied, we will determine the reason for the denial and what the next available steps are. We may advise refiling with additional information or waiting longer to refile.
After the judge signs a court order providing that your record is sealed, the court will mail that order to our office, and we will email or mail the order to you. The CA Department of Justice will also be notified and will update your criminal history to reflect the sealing.
No, we are not able to offer a money-back guarantee for this service in addition to such a low price, because the process involves a large amount of work and sometimes several appearances in court by our attorneys.
After you complete your sentence for a juvenile offense, the court does not automatically seal the records. You have to petition the court to seal the records. However, once your record is sealed, it is as though the offense never occurred.
After your record has been sealed, the record can only be accessed or used in limited circumstances: (1) it can be used for impeachment purposes in a subsequent case (CA Evidence Code 788); (2) as a subsequent strike pursuant to the Three Strikes Law. (PC 667(d)(3)); or (3) if you are involved in any future lawsuit involving defamation. (Welfare and Institutions Code 781(a) and (b))
No. Once your juvenile record has been sealed, California law provides that the case shall be deemed never to have occurred. You can legally deny the existence of your juvenile record.
If you were not sent to the California Youth Authority, we can seal your juvenile record which means that all records held by the police department, the court, the district attorney, and the probation department will be sealed. However, this does not apply to federal agencies.
If the juvenile was sent to the California Youth Authority and was subsequently honorably discharged, we can petition to have the verdict of guilty set aside, thereby releasing the individual from the penalties and disabilities of the conviction. Setting aside the verdict pursuant to Section 1772 operates to restore the discharged offender's civil rights, releasing the offender “from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense or crime for which he or she was committed” as a matter of law.
To determine if your criminal record is impacting your immigration status or if sealing your record could assist, you need to speak with an immigration attorney. You can reach our in-house immigration attorney by calling 714-617-8395.
No. The most common reasons for a person to lose their right to own or possess a firearm in California are (1) felony conviction, (2) violent misdemeanor conviction, or (3) misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. A CA sealing does not restore your firearm rights lost as a result of any of those convictions. (PC 1203.4 and 12021(c)) And in the case of a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, a CA juvenile record sealing would also not remove the lifetime ban imposed under the federal Lautenberg Amendment.
No. Nothing should appear on a background check after your juvenile record has been sealed. Once a record is sealed, the record is treated as if no offense(s) was/were committed and you can answer as if nothing ever occurred. (Welfare and Institutions Code 781(a))
After your record is sealed, you can legally say you were not convicted to any question for employment. Since your record will be sealed, your juvenile conviction(s) will not appear on the background check.
Banks and other financial institutions bar prospective employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for. They are able to do so because of Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA) allows; this is true even if the conviction has been expunged. If you have been denied or lost a job because of this, then there may be another option. You should speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for a waiver from the FDIC.
If you want to join the US military, then your record becomes a matter of federal law, not California state law. All branches of the military will want to know about your juvenile offenses, even if they have been sealed. There is still a risk of being discharged from the military if you don’t tell the military, and they find out about your record later. Disclosing your juvenile case is always advisable, but inform them that your case was taken before a judge and he deemed it in the interest of justice to seal the record from public view.
For California, once your juvenile records have been sealed, your record is treated as though no offense(s) was/were ever committed and you can deny your record on any application, including an application to become a police officer. Furthermore, once your juvenile records are sealed, they are physically destroyed after a few years. Thus, it is highly unlikely that anyone would later learn about your sealed record. (Welfare and Institutions Code 781(a))
Once your juvenile case is sealed, your probation officer and the court are required to say that they have no record of your arrest.
The court sends the order to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which will update their records. The court and DOJ are the source of information for other agencies and background check companies.
The court will update their own records within 48 hours after the judge grants your case. The CA DOJ has up to 30 days to update their records, though they will typically comply and update their records sooner.
A juvenile record sealing will not clear up your DMV record; after a specified number of years, however, the DMV records are automatically removed from your record, as opposed to your criminal history that are never automatically sealed or removed unless you petition the court for such relief.