Don't Let Your Past Limit Your Future
Having a juvenile criminal record in California makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting the job you want, obtaining housing, getting professional licenses, legally owning a firearm, qualifying for government programs, going to college and receiving student loans, and many other opportunities which would otherwise be available to you.
Juvenile records are more difficult for the public to find than adult records, but they still often show up in background checks and have the same negative result. California recently passed Assembly Bill 529, which amended Section 786 of the Welfare and Institutions Code to provide for the automatically sealing of certain juvenile records. However, automatic sealing under the new law does not apply to all juvenile records, and many still require that you petition the court to do so.
If you have a juvenile record, it is important to understand whether your record, (i) has already been automatically sealed, (ii) is eligible to seal by informal request, (iii) is eligible for you to seal, or (iv) does not qualify for sealing. These laws can be somewhat complicated to understand, but we have done our best to provide enough information to figure out your best course of action.
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
In October 2017, Assembly Bill 529 was passed, making significant changes to Section 786 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. These changes made it possible for many California juvenile records to be automatically sealed. Not all juvenile criminal records will be automatically sealed, but many qualify under the new law.
General Requirements for Automatic Sealing
The rules for automatic sealing of juvenile records in California are straightforward. To have your case automatically sealed under Section 786(a), you must satisfy the following requirements:
For a court to find that you have satisfactorily completed probation under Section 786(c), the following must be true:
What is a crime of moral turpitude?
Determining what constitutes a crime of “Moral Turpitude” can be frustrating, as there are not dependable definitions of the term in California law. Regardless, the best way to think of a crime of moral turpitude is that it’s one involving a bad intent, meaning you have intentionally acted with the knowledge that the action could create a serious risk of harm to others. In other words, if you purposefully did something to harm another individual, it will likely be considered a crime of moral turpitude. While many of these crimes are violent, there are plenty non-violent, such as crimes of dishonesty like theft, embezzlement, and fraud.
If you have outstanding unpaid restitution, court fines and fees, or other financial obligations, you will not be prevented from successfully completing your probation and will be allowed to seal your record, but your sealed records can be used to enforce those orders and obligations.
The second major requirement for automatic sealing of a juvenile record is that you were not convicted of an offense listed in Section 707(b) of the Welfare and Institutions Code at the age of 14 years or older. These crimes are serious offenses, which include:
If the offense you are trying to seal is on this list, you will not qualify for automatic juvenile record sealing. However, if the offense was dismissed, or reduced to a misdemeanor or lesser offense, you may still qualify.
When you do not qualify to have your record sealed automatically, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot seal your juvenile record. If you qualify under the following rules, you will need to file a petition with the court to seal your record, but record sealing may still be an option. This would generally be the case if your case was not dismissed after September 1, 2015.
General Requirements to Seal a California Juvenile Record
When you cannot receive the automatic relief described above, the following must be true to qualify for the sealing of a juvenile record in California:
To better understand what’s considered a crime of moral turpitude, please refer to the discussion above on automatic juvenile record sealing. A list of the Section 707(b) offenses is also in the section above on automatic juvenile record sealing.
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each.
How will sealing my juvenile record help me get a job?
In most cases, sealing will clearly help. Sealing a juvenile conviction under California law allows you to legally state that you were not convicted of a crime—it is as if it never occurred. However, the military and certain federal agencies may be able to access your sealed juvenile records. For most private employers, though, your sealed juvenile record should not appear in a background check, but there are exceptions to this rule if you are applying to be a peace officer or in certain healthcare jobs.
Regardless, with the amendment of Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code, an employer may not ask a job applicant for information relating to an arrest that did not result in a conviction, may not ask about diversion programs, and may not even search for non-conviction records. This law prohibits information about non-convictions from being considered as a factor in any aspect of the employment process, however, employers may inquire into an arrest for which there is a pending trial. This new law considers pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt to be convictions. Regarding juvenile records, employers are prohibited from asking applicants about a juvenile case regardless of result and may not use information from those cases as factors in any aspect of the employment process.
Will sealing my juvenile record restore my Second Amendment Rights?
This is a much more difficult question to answer, as there are many ways to have your firearm rights restricted in California. Not everybody with a California juvenile conviction can restore their constitutional right to own or possess firearms. It should be noted that you can almost never restore firearm rights based on federal convictions, and it can be very difficult if your Second Amendment rights were taken away due to a domestic violence conviction. For more information about federal firearm rights and domestic violence charges, the Department of Justice has resources you can find over domestic violence convictions.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in California on our California Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in California include:
Each of California’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what California criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of California criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a California criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all California state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!
We understand money can be tight, which is why we offer no-interest payment plans that can fit within any budget. Each person's situation is unique, so we work with our clients on an individual basis to find a payment plan that works for them.
If you are eligible, we are confident in our ability to clear your record. We are so confident that, for most services, we will refund your legal fees if we do not succeed in getting your record cleared. The Money Back Guarantee* applies only to legal fees, and does not apply to filing fees and court costs and other expenses required by the engagement. Further, our Money Back Guarantee* applies to most, but not all of the services offered by WipeRecord. Limitations apply. See our guarantee page.
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