The Expungement Center is dedicated to helping Americans everywhere understand their rights about their public records. We publish helpful information about record sealing and record expungement for states where it is available.

Just like when an adult breaks the law, juveniles have to attend court and a record is kept of the incident and proceedings. However, minors get different sentencing than adults do, even if they commit the same crimes. In almost all of states, individuals who are charged of committing a crime before their 17th or 18th birthday, depending on the state, will be tried as a juvenile. In North Carolina and New York though, an individual who is 13 and older who commits can be tried as an adult instead of a juvenile depending on the severity of the crime.

When it comes to a child who has committed a crime, the type of punishment they receive is based on the charges placed and state’s criminals proceedings that follow (as with all cases). The police officer can give the minor a warning and hold them until a parent picks them up, or the officer can place the child in custody for further investigation on the case. When it comes to an adolescent or child’s punishment for a crime they have committed, a few things can affect the outcome of the ruling and sentencing: their attitude (showing remorse), their demenaor (groomed and polite), availability of family support, and even the presence of legal counsel. In most cases if an individual is under the age of 18 and breaks the law, then they will only be charged with a juvenile offense with a community service term and/or time in juvenile detention or jail.  Recently though, the number of juveniles who are being tried as adults is increasing. In 40 states, laws are being passed which will make it easier for a juvenile to be tried as an adult.

Whether an individual has juvenile records or an adult criminal record, they do have the option to have their recorded expunged. Expunging is where a juvenile’s history would be removed and destroyed. Individual who get their files sealed will not have the juvenile record destroyed but it will become inaccessible except to government bodies with a court order to have the record opened. In some states an individual’s juvenile record is automatically closed, depending on the crime that was done, along with the age of the individual at the time of the crime. However, in most jurisdictions an individual’s history will not be close unless the individual who committed the crime files a request with a court. The process for an individual to get their history expunged, this will vary by the state they are living in.

When trying to get juvenile record closed, individuals eligibility will vary from state to state. If an individual can get their history of crime closed, it is dependent on the age of the individual when the crime was committed, the amount of time that has passed since the completion of all sentencing and other factors. In most cases a juvenile crime history is not able to be closed until five years after the crime has happened. If an individual has a serious juvenile offense against them, then they may not be able to get their criminal history sealed or expunged at all. In order for an individual to get their records sealed or expunged then they have to make sure they do not get into any other trouble, if they do then their request to get their crime history being closed off would be denied.

If an individual is trying to get their juvenile records expunged then they would need to file a petition with the court, at this time the individual would also have to pay a fee as well in order for this to happen. An individual is not able to get the following crime history closed or expunged; murder, rape, or aggravated murder. Crime history that quality to be automatically closed include; an individual being arrested but no complaint is filed, a juvenile is charged with underage drinking and completes a program, and when a court would dismiss a trail such as a; unruly child or a traffic offender.

An individual will receive a felony charge when they commit a serious crime. If an individual is convicted of a felony then they become a felon, which makes it hard for them to get employment. An individual will get a felony if they commit; murder, rape, assault, arson, robbery, manslaughter, kidnapping, perjury, or even possession of illegal drugs. If an individual has been charged with a felony they can do up to a year or longer, depending on their charge. A misdemeanor charge is when an individual commits a not so serious crime, and they will not receive a harsh punishment. An individual may get hit with a misdemeanor if they commit; petty theft, being intoxicated in public, reckless driving, trespassing, assault, or even vandalism. If an individual is charged with a misdemeanor then they will get a maximum punishment of 12 months in the country jail.

An individual is able to get a do-it-yourself expunge and seal kit, meaning they are able to expunge or close off their record at a small fee without having to pay for a lawyer. These kits allow you to file on your own at a low cost; there are different packages an individual can choose from that are easy to use. Sealing juvenile records can be stressful, however these kits take the stress away. If an individual is not satisfied with the outcome of the do-it-yourself kit then there is a money back guarantee. An individual shouldn’t have to keep juvenile police records when they are able to get them expunged or close them, this is why individuals who have a juvenile record should look into do-it-yourself kit.