“Sealing” your juvenile record means that records held by the police, the court, the District Attorney, and/or Probation will be treated as if they never existed. If someone asks about a “sealed” case, the law says the agency has to answer “There is no record of that matter.” When a matter is sealed, you can say you were never arrested or adjudicated for that case. Sealing your record lets you start with a clean slate.
Why should I seal my record?
Juvenile tickets can turn into credit problems and a juvenile record can impact your ability to get a job.
What are my “Juvenile Records”?
The documents and Court Orders in your juvenile court file which relate to your case. Some juvenile records might also be kept by the Probation Department, the Police or the District Attorney.
What should I say on a job application?
If you are asked on a job application if you were “convicted” of a crime, the truthful answer is “no” even if you have not sealed your record.(This is because a decision in juvenile court is called an “adjudication” and that is not the same as a “conviction”.) However, felonies are public information and, therefore, an employer will be able to see any felony on your record.
You may also be asked on a job application whether you have ever been arrested for a crime. Once your record is sealed by the court, you can say you have never been arrested. However, if your record is not sealed, you must answer yes.
Am I eligible to seal my juvenile record?
- You are 18 years old or 5 years have passed since your probation ended. (Example: You finished probation at age 12 and you’re now 17).
- You have not been convicted of a felony or a “Crime of Moral Turpitude” since your last arrest or termination of probation. Moral Turpitude means a crime that is contrary to community standards for morals or honesty. For example, crimes involving fraud, theft, or drugs are considered crimes of moral turpitude.
- You have paid all fines and restitution owed to the court as an adult or juvenile.
- Your case began and ended in Juvenile Court.
- There is no civil litigation regarding your Juvenile Court case.
- You were at least 14 years old and adjudicated for a Welfare and Institutions Code 707(b) offense.
- You cannot seal traffic matters or metro/parking tickets.
How Do I Seal my Records?
Step One: Get Your Rap Sheet/Arrest Record
The first thing you will need to do is get your RAP (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions) sheet (also known as your arrest record).
You can obtain this in a few ways
1) Go to the Eastlake Juvenile Court Clerk’s office OR the Juvenile Court that handled your case and ask for your Arrest Record/RAP sheet. Remember to bring your ID!
2) Call your former Probation Officer (PO), and ask if he/she can access it for you.
3) Call your former Public Defender (PD), and ask if he/she can access it for you.
Step Two: Obtain a Sealing Records Petition
In Los Angeles County, the Petition can be requested by mail or in person. Send a written request and a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Eastlake Juvenile Court Clerk, Attn: Sealing Desk
1601 Eastlake Avenue, Room J
Los Angeles, CA 90033-1094
You can also go to the Court Clerk’s office at Eastlake in person and request a petition. Sometimes, this is easiest, as you may want to go there to get your RAP sheet/Arrest Record as well.
Step Three: Fill Out the Sealing Records Petition
Once you have the petition, use your RAP sheet/Arrest record to fill it out.
To fill out the petition, you will need the following information which should be on the RAP sheet:
- Case Number
- JAI Number
- Date of Arrest
- Arresting Agency (LAPD, LA Sherriff, Pasadena PD, etc.)
- Violation (PC 594, HS11550, VC 23152, etc.)
- Disposition (HOP, SP, CCP, YA, etc.)
On pages 5 and 6, you will find a sample RAP sheet/Arrest Record and a sample petition. The top part of the petition requests basic information. Below that you will list all of the charges, with the dates, arresting agency, and disposition. The disposition is not always clear from your RAP sheet/Arrest Record, so you can leave that portion of the petition blank.
Step Four: File the Petition
Completed petitions should be hand-delivered (remember to keep a copy showing the date you filed the petition) to one of the following Juvenile Courts:
- Eastlake 1601 Eastlake Ave. Los Angeles, CA 323.226.8927
- Inglewood 110 E. Regent St. Los Angeles, CA 310.419.5267
- Long Beach 275 Magnolia Ave Long Beach, CA 562.256.2312
- Los Padrinos 300 E. Quill Dr. Downey, CA 562.940.8824
- Pasadena 300 E. Walnut St. Pasadena, CA 626.356.5757
- Pomona 400 Civic Center Pomona, CA 909.620.3037
- Compton 200 W. Compton Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 310.603.7816
- Sylmar 16350 Filbert St. Sylmar, CA 818.364.2108
- Antelope Valley 1040 West Avenue J clerks office Rm 1157 Lancaster, CA 661.949.6501
Your petition will be handled in the court in which your hearings took place. If you had cases in multiple courts, you can submit your petition to seal at anyof the above juvenile courts and your petition will be directed to the correct location.
Note: We have found that it is easiest to file at Eastlake Court, as they are very familiar with the process.
I filed my petition, now what?
The clerk will schedule a date for the judge to hear your petition. It may take as long as a year for you to get a court date. You will be notified of the date by mail. It is not mandatory you attend, but if you can be there, you will have the opportunity to address any questions the judge has. There may be no questions, but unless you are there, you won’t know. Some courts will know if your petition was granted at 4:15 PM the day before your hearing. Call and check!
It is very important to notify the court if you move while you are waiting to hear about your petition!
If the court grants your petition, your records will be sealed and all agencies which have evidence of your juvenile court history will be ordered to seal their records.
Can my records be unsealed?
Insurance companies are permitted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to look at these records and assess your insurance rates based on any past motor vehicle violations on your record.
If you commit a crime that qualifies under California’s “Three Strikes” law, your records can be unsealed and used to increase your sentence. If you file a suit against someone for “defamation of character” your records may be reviewed. This is because if they say that you are a bank robber, and you sue them for defamation, but you DID once rob a bank, then they have a defense. So, your sealed records can be checked.
If you apply for employment with the government, these agencies will be able to access your records too.
What if I’m still on probation as a juvenile?
You will not be able to seal your records until you have completed the terms of probation – but start talking to your Juvenile Public Defender (i.e. your attorney, PD) and your Probation Officer (PO) now about what the process will be for sealing your records under a law called AB1038.
Also – ask whether it’s possible for any of your charges to be lowered.
Important Contact Information
- Compton Juvenile P.D. 310.603.7292
- Eastlake Juvenile Court Clerk 323.226.8926
- Inglewood Juvenile P.D. 310.419.5245
- Sylmar Juvenile P.D. 818.364.2133
- Lancaster Juvenile Court Clerk 661.949.6501
- Pomona Juvenile P.D. 909.868.6404
- Los Angeles Police Department 877.275.5273
- Los Padrinos Juvenile Court Clerk 562.940.8823
- Pasadena Juvenile P.D. 626.356.5464
- Arrest Record Requests: CA Dept. of Justice 916.227.3849
Alliance for Children’s Rights
3333 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550 Los Angeles, CA 90010
Wilshire-Metro Worksource Legal Assistance Program
3550 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500 Los Angeles, CA 90010
130 W. Bruno St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012 323.526.1254
610 South Ardmore Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90005 213.385.2977 ext. 700
Are there crimes that make me ineligible to seal my records?
With few exceptions, you cannot seal your record if you have committed any one of the following offenses when you were 14 or older:
- Arson, as provided in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 451 of the Penal Code
- Rape with force, violence, or threat of great bodily harm
- Sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm
- A lewd or lascivious act as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code
- Oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm
- An offense specified in subdivision (a) of Section 289 of the Penal Code
- Kidnapping for ransom
- Kidnapping for purposes of robbery
- Kidnapping with bodily harm
- Attempted murder
- Assault with a firearm or destructive device
- Assault by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury
- Discharge of a firearm into an inhabited or occupied building
- An offense described in Section 1203.09 of the Penal Code
- An offense described in Section 12022.5 or 12022.53 of the Penal Code
- A felony offense in which the minor personally used a weapon described in any provision listed in Section 16590 of the Penal Code
- A felony offense described in Section 136.1 or 137 of the Penal Code
- Manufacturing, compounding, or selling one-half ounce or more of a salt or solution of a controlled substance specified in subdivision (e) of Section 11055 of the Health and Safety Code
- A violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code, which also would constitute a felony violation of subdivision (b) of Section 186.22 of the Penal Code
- Escape, by the use of force or violence, from a county juvenile hall, home, ranch, camp, or forestry camp in violation of subdivision (b) of Section 871 if great bodily injury is intentionally inflicted upon an employee of the juvenile facility during the commission of the escape
- Torture as described in Sections 206 and 206.1 of the Penal Code
- Aggravated mayhem, as described in Section 205 of the Penal Code
- Carjacking, as described in Section 215 of the Penal Code, while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon
- Kidnapping for purposes of sexual assault, as punishable in subdivision (b) of Section 209 of the Penal Code
- Kidnapping as punishable in Section 209.5 of the Penal Code
- The offense described in subdivision (c) of Section 26100 of the Penal Code
- The offense described in Section 18745 of the Penal Code
- Voluntary manslaughter, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 192 of the Penal Code
See the full list.