Sealing one’s criminal record is also known as an expungement, which is the legal process by which the record is treated as if it no longer exists. The options for and limits to expungement vary by jurisdiction, but all areas allow sealing of juvenile records. In some areas, certain misdemeanor and felony offenses can be expunged as long as the defendant meets certain guidelines.
Is a Juvenile Record Automatically Expunged?
Depending on jurisdictional law, a juvenile’s criminal record can be automatically sealed. However, they are expunged only if the person stays out of trouble for a certain time after reaching the age of majority. Most areas do not have automatic expungement processes, and they require the offender and expungement lawyers in Burlington VT to file a motion to have the records sealed.
Whether a person qualifies to have their record expunged depends on state law. As previously mentioned, in some cases the record is sealed automatically. However, in other instances, the person would have to meet multiple criteria, such as:
- Waiting a certain amount of time since fulfilling the terms of the conviction or plea
- Whether they received parole, probation or a prison sentence
- Being a non-violent offender
Can Expunged Records be Used Against Adults?
The term “expungement” is slightly inaccurate. In technical terms, it means that something is entirely removed. However, in criminal law, it means that the offense is removed from public view, but it is still visible to law enforcement and judicial personnel. Therefore, it’s possible for one’s juvenile arrest record to be used against them later in life.
Does a Defendant Need a Lawyer’s Help in Expunging a Criminal Offense?
If one’s record is expunged automatically, they likely do not require an attorney’s assistance unless they are facing additional charges and fear that the old record could be brought up in court. For most people, expungement is not automatic, and they should speak to Expungement Lawyers in Burlington VT to find out how records are sealed. Jason J. Sawyer Attorney & Counselor At Law will help the client ensure that they take all the proper steps to correctly seal a criminal record.