At Findley & Rogers, we can help seal your juvenile criminal record. If you’re eligible, expunging your juvenile record is definitely something to consider. A juvenile record can burden your efforts to get a job, find an apartment, or gain access to credit or other financial resources. Prior convictions are often an instant deal breaker for prospective employers and landlords; as such, getting your conviction vacated and your record sealed is a big step forward in getting your life back on track and building a more secure and prosperous future.
Eligibility Requirements for Juvenile Record Expungement
In 2014, Washington state law (RCW 13.50.260) changed to make it much easier (and sometimes automatic) to seal juvenile criminal records. Some juvenile records for cases before the law went into effect in 2014 were sealed automatically. However, if yours wasn’t sealed, then you can petition the court to seal or expunge your juvenile record so long as you meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You’re 18 or older
- You’ve completed confinement or detention (if applicable)
- You’ve completed probation (if applicable)
- You’ve completed all the other terms and conditions of your sentence, including the repayment of restitution to private individuals
- You have no new criminal charges pending against you
- The crime was not a sex offense (These cases often can be sealed with some additional steps)
- The crime was not a “most serious offense” (These cases often can be sealed with some additional steps)
A “most serious offense” includes any Class A felony and a variety of other severe felonies such as homicide, vehicular assault, sexual assault, and so forth.
Note that it is possible to seal a juvenile case even if you do still owe fines to the court or restitution to an insurance company.
Mandatory Waiting Period
In addition to completing all of the terms and conditions of your sentence, you must also complete a waiting period of 2 years with no new criminal convictions.
Sealing More Serious Juvenile Convictions
It is also possible to seal juvenile records for most (but not all) more serious crimes, including most Class A felonies (RCW 13.50.260). This is a special privilege that adult felons do not enjoy, designed to help juvenile offenders build productive lives rather than continuing to burden society.
There are some additional eligibility requirements to this type of juvenile record expungement, in addition to all of the requirements listed above, that must be met in order to seal these more serious crimes:
- You must appeal your sex offender status if you were convicted for a sex offense. This is another legal service that Findley & Rogers can help you with.
- You must complete a mandatory 5-year waiting period which begins upon your sentencing.
Which Juvenile Offenses Cannot Be Sealed?
The only juvenile crimes that cannot be sealed are:
- Rape in the first or second degree
- Indecent liberties (another type of sex offense) committed with forcible compulsion
The Washington State Fair Credit Reporting Act
For crimes you committed as a juvenile, the Washington State Fair Credit Reporting Act also works to your advantage. This comprehensive law from 2011 contains a provision (RCW 19.182.040) which says that reporting agencies cannot report any convictions on your juvenile record after you turn 21.
Similar to getting your juvenile record expunged, this act is intended to help juvenile offenders reintegrate back into society and live productive lives.
Restoring Firearm Rights
Before sealing your juvenile record, it can be helpful to first proceed with restoring your firearm rights. This is another legal service we offer at Findley & Rogers.
Juvenile record expungement or sealing allows you to legally state that you were never convicted of the crime, which is an enormous help on credit, rental, and job applications. But pursuant to a recent Washington Supreme Court decision, sealing a juvenile record does not automatically restore firearm rigths.
The eligibility requirements for restoring firearm rights are slightly different from those for sealing your juvenile records, but they basically follow the same lines:
- You must have complied with the terms and conditions imposed by the court in DV cases
- You can’t have any new charges pending against you
The waiting periods are longer, too:
- 3 years for a domestic violence misdemeanor
- 5 years for a felony
- 10 years if you have a prior class B felony that counts on your offender score. .
It is not possible to restore firearm rights for Class A felonies and various violent crimes and sex offenses though it may be possible to seal or have them expunged from a juvenile record.
Put the Past Behind You with Findley & Rogers
Many people are not aware that they have options under state law to move past their juvenile records and get their lives back on track. At Findley & Rogers, our passion and focus as a law firm is to help ordinary folks like you take back their dignity and build a better life for themselves.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We’ll lay out where things stand legally, and we’ll tell you what your best options are. We serve all Washington State residents, no matter which county you’re living in.
If you hire us to seal or expunge your juvenile record, we’ll handle all the paperwork for you. It’s a hassle-free experience, and you won’t have to show up in court. That’s the benefit of having an experienced attorney on your side! So don’t wait, give us a call today and reclaim your life.