Expungement is a court process that clears your juvenile law enforcement record. It prevents the general public and most employers from viewing your criminal record.
Expungement is different from sealing. Sealing makes your juvenile record private so that the general public cannot view it. Sealing does not erase your record. Juvenile records are already private. Therefore, you cannot ask for your juvenile records to be sealed.
Expunging a juvenile law enforcement record is different from expunging a regular criminal record.
You used to have to wait until your 18th birthday to file to expunge your juvenile record. As of January 1st, 2017, you can file at any time. Also, the judge has to let you expunge your record if one of the following is true:
- You were never charged,
- The charges were dismissed,
- You were found not delinquent,
- You were given supervision and completed it successfully, or
- The offense (if committed by an adult) would have been a Class B or C misdemeanor or a petty or business offense.
Automatic expungement applies to arrest records that are held by State Police. After making a juvenile arrest, local law enforcement are required to report some arrests to the State Police, which results in records about the same incident being held by multiple agencies. Automatic expungement removes only those eligible arrest records held by the State Police. The original records that were created and held by local agencies still remain.
Since this process only removes an arrest record from one of the multiple places it is stored, you should not rely on automatic expungement as an effective way to make sure your records do not hurt your chances for employment, housing, and education. Instead, the expungement petition process is the only way to fully remove a juvenile record.
Your juvenile criminal record held by the State Police should be automatically expunged if you meet the following criteria:
- You turned 18 in the last calendar year
- You were arrested on or after January 1, 2015
- You were arrested by the state police department
- You were arrested but no petition of delinquency was filed with the court
- 6 months have passed since your last arrest
- You have received no more arrests or charges
Automatic expungement takes place every year on January 1st. You should request a copy of your record to make sure that the automatic expungement took place.