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How Long Does a Juvenile Crime Stay on a Person's Record?

If you were a juvenile offender, you might be concerned about your criminal record haunting you long after you have moved on with your life. It is important to understand that each state handles juvenile records differently and while some might make it easy for you to put the past behind you, others might make it a little more tricky. Typically, most states consider factors like age, when you committed the offense, the seriousness of it, and whether you had any subsequent arrests or convictions when deciding if one’s record can be cleared.

Juvenile Records in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, juvenile records are much more protected than adult criminal records. For example, Massachusetts Juvenile Court Delinquency hearings and files at the courthouse are not available to the public. Even in cases where a record is not sealed, you can claim that there is no record regarding any juvenile case that was not transferred to Superior Court for prosecution. If employers or others ask about your record, the Commissioner of Probation would also answer that there is no record when asked about any juvenile offenses. However, if the courts, police, or other members of the criminal justice system ask for this information, it will be provided.

On the other hand, youthful offender cases in Juvenile Court are open to the public, which means anyone conducting a background check can discover them.

Sealing Juvenile Records

Juvenile Court cases can be sealed if the case has been closed for at least 3 years. That said, there are some stipulations one must meet for this to be possible:

  • You did not have any subsequent delinquency cases, juvenile adjudications, or convictions, except motor vehicle offenses with fines that do not exceed $50, during the past 3 years in any court in or out of Massachusetts or from a Federal Court.
  • You have not been in jail, prison, or juvenile custody within the past 3 years in or out of Massachusetts or from Federal Court.

After your juvenile record is old enough, one can seal it by filling out the same Petition to Seal form that others would use to seal an adult conviction.

Prior to sealing your records, make sure you obtain certified copies of them at the courthouse. You might need these documents if you need to apply for a green card or another legal immigration status, so having copies of your juvenile record will save time and a trip to the courthouse to have them unsealed. There is no fee to have a copy of your juvenile record.

Juvenile Crimes Attorney in Quincy

If you were convicted of a crime as a juvenile or are currently facing charges, the criminal defense team at Flanagan & Associates will assist you in sealing your records or provide you the aggressive representation you need to protect your rights and future. The last thing you want is for a mistake to follow you for the rest of your life, so get the help you need today.

Contact our office at (617) 651-3220 to schedule a case evaluation today.

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