When you are arrested or charged with an offense, a criminal record is created, even if you are released without being charged or found not guilty. These criminal records can be viewed by the public, including potential employers.
You might be able to erase charges and arrests from your record though. This is called expungement. Expungement is different from sealing, which hides your record from being seen by most people. Qualifying for expungement depends on a number of factors:
- What type of crime you were arrested or charged with;
- What happened in the case; and
- How much time has passed since it happened.
If you were arrested before your 18th birthday and the case was handled in juvenile court, you have a juvenile record. Criminal records come from cases that are handled in adult court. Juvenile records do not affect your eligibility to expunge your criminal record.
You may be eligible to expunge your juvenile records even if you have an adult record. The procedures for expunging juvenile records may be found here. You can also find more information through the Office of the State Appellate Defender.