Expunction Orders and Record Sealing for Juveniles
In Texas, an expunction is a legal process that allows an individual to have their criminal record erased or sealed. When a criminal record is expunged, it means that the records related to the arrest, charge, and court proceedings are either destroyed or sealed from public access.
Expunctions effectively treat the arrest and legal proceedings as if they never occurred. However, the process for obtaining an expunction can be long and qualification complex. We’ll go over the most important information as in-depth as we can in the article below.
Texas Juvenile Expunction Lawyers in Travis County
Obtaining an expunction can be tricky. To receive one, the petitioner must provide all of their personal information and list every single agency that has information on the petitioner’s original arrest. This can be extremely difficult to do correctly alone, which is why the attorneys at the Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski are ready to assist you.
The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County.
If you or a loved one are considering applying for an expunction, call 512-960-4646 today.
Applying for Expunction or Record Sealing as a Juvenile
- Explunction Orders in Travis County, Texas
- Expunction Orders vs. Record Sealing
- Sealing Records for Juveniles
- Disqualifying Convictions
- How to Apply for Record Sealing in Travis County
- Hire a Record Sealing Attorney in Travis County, Texas
What is an Expunction Order
Expunctions are court orders based on Texas Code 55 to law and government officials to destroy all records of a case, both digital and physical. This process can be lengthy, difficult and costly, depending on the severity of the original charge.
Juveniles can face great difficulty in education, employment and even finding housing or taking out loans. Being arrested does not mean that a person is guilty, but even with a dismissal or acquittal, some people face social stigma and economic hardship as a result of the case.
Expunction vs. Sealing Records
You’ve probably heard the phrases “expunging” or “sealing” in relation to a person’s record before. What you might not know is that these are two different legal processes with different outcomes. Whether you can expunge or seal your record will depend on if you are eligible and the facts surrounding your charges.
Once you expunge your record, that means no one can access it. Higher education institutions, licensing agencies, employers, and even government agencies will not be able to access your records. You will also be legally permitted to deny any arrest, charges, or conviction in a job interview or any other official meeting without penalty.
Sealing a criminal record is similar to expungement, but some people will still be able to access your records. Some licensing agencies and government entities will have access to your record even after it’s sealed. However, the requirements to seal your record are much laxer than expungement. In Texas, you can seal your record if:
- You were placed on deferred adjudication
- You successfully completed the deferred adjudication
- You waited the appropriate time period to file an order of nondisclosure with the court that had jurisdiction over your charges
- You were convicted of any criminal offense between the time of your deferred adjudication and the filing for non-disclosure
In general, Juveniles are more likely to have sealed records compared to adults.
Sealing Records for Juveniles
Juvenile records have a very specific and complex place in Texas law. Because of their age, juvenile confidentiality is heavily protected. Some records are automatically sealed and others may be sealed at request later in life. The following are some of the use cases for juvenile record sealing and what to do for each one.
Finding of Not True
If a juvenile court, on the court’s own motion and without a hearing, decides that the allegations against a juvenile are not true, then the records will be sealed automatically.
Conduct Indicating Need for Supervision (CIN)
CIN convictions typically encompass laws such as consumption of alcohol, prostitution or sexting. If the juvenile meets all of the appropriate conditions, then their records will be sealed automatically on their 18th birthday.
- has records relating to the conduct filed with the court clerk;
- is at least 18 years of age;
- has not been referred to the juvenile probation department for delinquent conduct;
- has not as an adult been convicted of a felony; and
- does not have any pending charges as an adult for a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail.
If a juvenile is remaindered to juvenile court for a reason other than CIN, then they may be eligible for automatic record sealing on their 19th birthday. In order for the court to automatically seal their records, the juvenile must:
- be at least 19 years of age;
- have not been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct or, if adjudicated for delinquent conduct, was not adjudicated for delinquent conduct violating a penal law of the grade of felony;
- not have any pending delinquent conduct matters;
- have not been transferred by a juvenile court to a criminal court for prosecution under Section 54.02;
- have not as an adult been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail; and
- not have any pending charges as an adult for a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail.
Some convictions will prevent the juvenile from being able to seal his or her records permanently.
- Registration as a Sex Offender – If the juvenile was convicted of a crime and was forced to register as a sex offender, the juvenile is not eligible for expungement.
- Was transferred to a criminal court for prosecution
- Has not been convicted of a felony as an adult
- Has pending charges for a felony or misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail
- Has violated Family Law 53.045, which includes arson, sexual assault and other high-value crimes
- Has served time in a post-adjudication secure correctional facility or was committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department
How to Apply for Record Sealing as a Juvenile
You can apply to have your records sealed by filling out the application online and sending it to the appropriate court. This will typically be your district court, but if the juvenile was heard at the municipal or county court, then you’ll need to file with them.
In the application, you’ll need to include every agency that you believe may hold your child’s records. This can be tricky, which is why it’s recommended to hire an attorney for the application and filing of the sealing or expungement order.
Once the application has been received, the court will set a hearing date and the contacted agencies will have the opportunity to respond. In some cases, the relevant agencies may argue that loss of the information will make it difficult or impossible to resolve outstanding cases.
If the hearing goes well, then the court will order the records to be sealed.
Hire a Juvenile Record Sealing Attorney in Travis County, Texas
Juvenile cases are a complex and stressful business, but our lawyers will be with you every step of the way.
The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County. Your first consultation is free, so call 512-960-4646 today.