A juvenile record can become a major barrier to college, obtaining financial aid, housing, employment, and enlisting in the military. When a juvenile record is sealed, it is treated as if it doesn’t exist. You are allowed to deny that it ever happened. The record is removed from the criminal history database that is maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A person who is eligible to seal their records may file an application with the court. Texas does have a system called “Automatic Restriction of Access to Records,” which automatically makes juvenile records harder to access once you turn 17, but this does not seal your records.
THE 84TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Texas has created a new process by which certain juvenile records can be sealed without the need to file an application once certain requirements are met. SB1707/HB263 (effective 9-1-2015) requires the juvenile court to initiate an order to seal a person’s record relating to a nonsuit, a misdemeanor adjudication, or CINS adjudication. An order to seal this type of record under Subsection (a) of Section 58.003 of the Texas Family Code is now automatic and mandatory.
Under the Texas Family Code, if a juvenile record is sealed, the following things happen:
- All records of law enforcement, prosecuting attorney, clerk of court, juvenile court, and public or private agency or institution ordered sealed must be sent to the court within 61 days.
- All index references to the records must be deleted within 61 days and verification of the deletion sent to the court within 61 days.
- If an inquiry is made regarding the matter that was sealed, all the entities listed in #2 shall reply “no records exists;”
- The adjudication is vacated and the proceeding is dismissed and treated as if it had never occurred, except for the purpose of a subsequent capital prosecution.
- A person whose records have been sealed is not required to state in any proceeding or application for employment, information, or licensing that he or she was ever a party to a proceeding in the juvenile system and such denial cannot be held against the person in a criminal or civil proceeding.
Contact Ms. Rodriguez TODAY at (512) 826-5990 for a free confidential evaluation of your case.