If you’re a parent of a minor child who has gotten into trouble with the law, you’re probably very concerned about their juvenile records and how they can impact your child’s future. If you’re like most parents, you hope that your child’s juvenile records will be sealed so they can’t haunt him or her for years to come.
“What does it mean to have juvenile records sealed?” When a juvenile record is sealed, it means the proceeding is dismissed and treated like it never happened, unless your child’s record is unsealed at a future date for a lawful reason.
What Happens When Records Are Sealed?
In addition to the case being dismissed, the following occurs when juvenile records are sealed in Texas:
- All records kept by law enforcement, the prosecutor, the juvenile court, and the clerk of court are ordered to be sealed. These records are stored so they are only accessible to the custodian of records.
- The entities who receive a sealing order must respond with “no record exists” if anyone inquiries into a matter.
- When the juvenile applies for licensing, employment, housing, or any other public or private benefit, he or she is not required to say they have ever been involved in the juvenile court system.
- If the juvenile denies that the records ever existed, it cannot be used against him or her in any other criminal or civil proceeding, including an employment or housing decision.
“Can my son or daughter gain access to their records?” Yes. If your son or daughter was party to the juvenile court system, then he or she is entitled to access their records for the purpose of asking the court to seal their records.
Note: Not all juvenile records are subject to sealing. The records that are exempt from sealing include: records related to gang-related crimes, sex offender registration records, and records gathered by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for research purposes.
To learn more about sealing juvenile records in Texas, click here. For professional, legal assistance with a juvenile case in Plano, Dallas, or Fort Worth, contact our firm today.