This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Texas Juvenile Record Sealing service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
Simply click on a question to view its answer:
If you were arrested, taken into custody or charged with a criminal offense (Class A or B misdemeanor or any felony) that was committed when you were at least 10 years old but younger than 17 years old, you probably have a juvenile file and record. You may also have a juvenile record if you were charged with a Class C misdemeanor offense and the justice or municipal court transferred your case to a juvenile court.
As stated above, if a juvenile was adjudicated for delinquent conduct (Class A or B misdemeanor or any felony), the juvenile probably has a record with various agencies including local law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This record is a permanent record that is not destroyed or erased unless you have the record sealed. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(a)
For certain records created after September 1, 2001, Texas has a system that partially limits access to your juvenile records after you reach 21 years of age if you do not commit criminal offenses once you become 17 years of age. The system is called "Automatic Restriction of Access to Records."
However, under Automatic Restriction of Access to Records, your records are NOT destroyed or sealed. They remain in place, but are placed under restricted access. After you reach age 21, they are still available to criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes, such as investigating and prosecuting crimes. To all other inquiring parties (employers, educational agencies, etc.) the agency holding the records is required to reply that the records "do not exist." If asked, you are legally allowed to deny that you were ever arrested, charged, prosecuted or adjudicated for a crime if you records are restricted under this system.
It is important to note that many juvenile records are NOT eligible for Automatic Restricted Access, such as: · Cases that were handled as determinate sentence cases by the juvenile court; · Cases that were certified (transferred) to adult criminal court to be handled in the same manner as adult cases; or · Cases that were prosecuted in justice or municipal court. · Gang records · Sex offender records
We can work with you to get a copy of your case documents and review what can be done. We charge a small fee for that case research service, and that fee would be applied to any service you hire us to conduct for you.
No, we can seal the record regardless of what you pled as long as you meet the other requirements for a juvenile record sealing under Texas law.
A sealing could be denied because of: (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe that sealing your juvenile record will be in the interest of society, (4) violating probation and (5) not paying fines. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(a)
While a licensed attorney will appear in court for you, judges in Texas will frequently require your presence, as well. If you live out of state or if attending the hearing would be a hardship for you, we can ask the court to excuse your presence, but this is not guaranteed.
Currently, the entire juvenile record sealing process is taking about nine to twelve months. However, depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA agrees or objects to the sealing, and the age of the case, some cases can be completed more quickly and some cases can take longer.
There is currently no way to expedite the process with the court, as they handle case as they get them. If it can help in your situation, we will be happy to write a letter to your employer or potential employer to inform them that we are in the process of having your juvenile record sealed.
If the judges denies your case, we evaluate the reason it was denied and would decide on the best way to proceed once we have evaluated all of the options.
After you complete your sentence for a juvenile offense, the court does not automatically seal the records. The Juvenile Justice File and Record is a permanent record that is not automatically destroyed or erased. The juvenile record may also be available to employers, educational institutions, licensing agencies, and other organizations when the person applies for employment or educational programs. You have to petition the court to seal the records. However, once your record is sealed, the existence of any juvenile offenses you have committed is removed from your record. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(j)
As stated above, a juvenile record that is not sealed may be available to employers, educational institutions, licensing agencies, and other organizations when the person applies for employment or educational programs. However, juvenile treatment records (counseling, placement, drug treatment, etc.), are confidential and accessible only to authorized users. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(h) and (k)
A sealed juvenile felony record can be accessed by prosecuting attorneys, upon application and grant by the juvenile court, for purposes of prosecuting repeat or habitual offenders. Also the Department of Public Safety may inspect the files and records of an applicant for a license to carry a concealed handgun. Furthermore, an inspection of a sealed record may be permitted by order of juvenile court if you petition for your juvenile record to be inspected and only by persons named in the order granting inspection. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(h) and 58.003(k)
If you were convicted of a felony, your juvenile conviction can be unsealed for the purposes of that future conviction. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(k)
You do not have to disclose your sealed juvenile conviction in any proceeding or in any application for employment, information, or licensing. Furthermore, denial of the juvenile conviction can never be held against you in any criminal or civil proceeding. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(j)
Juvenile convictions that require registration are not eligible to be sealed. Therefore, sealing the records does not affect registration. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(b)
Every case is unique, and therefore an immigration attorney review your specific facts is imperative. An immigration attorney can let you know if your criminal case affects your immigration status and if getting a juvenile record sealed would be beneficial. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.
The Department of Public Safety may inspect the files and records of an applicant for a license to carry a concealed handgun. However, a juvenile adjudication should not prevent you from owning or possessing a firearm.
You are able to vote once you are fully discharged from your felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, or probation.
You can truthfully say you were not convicted to any question for employment. Therefore, record sealing will greatly increase your chances of finding gainful employment.
If you want to join the military, then your record becomes a matter of federal law, not Texas state law. All branches of the military will want to know about your juvenile offenses, even if they have been sealed. There is a risk of being discharged from the military if you don’t tell them and they find out about your record later. You should always disclose your conviction, but also mention that your case was taken before a judge and was sealed from public view.
In the state of Texas, once your juvenile records have been sealed, your record is treated as though no offense were ever committed, and you can deny the existence of your record on any application, including an application to become a police officer. Thus, it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to know.
Your probation officer and the court are required to say that they have no record of your arrest or conviction.
Nothing will appear, because the record will be sealed. Once a record is sealed, the record is treated as if any relevant offenses never happened and you can answer as if your record never existed. Texas Family Code §§ 58.003(j)
Once the judge signs the granted order for sealing, the court sends the order to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety then sends the order to all the agencies with records of the arrest or case.
The court updates the court records within 48 hours and the Texas Department of Public Safety and agencies typically update the records in less then 30 days. However, the private background companies take a little longer sometimes.
A juvenile record sealing does not clear your DMV record.