I was charged with 12 felony counts for forgery when I was 15. I served my time and have not been in trouble. I am trying to become a realtor at age 23 and did not pass the FBI background check. Is there anything I can do legally to get this changed/sealed?
3 Answers from Attorneys
My first question is whether you were charged as a juvenile, under juvenile delinquency law, or as an adult. There are other questions I have, such as how much time was served, and what specific charges you plead guilty to or were convicted of. That would affect whether you can reduce and expunge the charges, or file a petition to seal your juvenile records.
If it was in Juvenile Court, the record should not be 'on view' to start with, and in some cases can be sealed and destroyed once you turn 18.
Since it was apparently in Superior Court, the rules for expungement apply.
Some CA criminal convictions can be 'expunged' from criminal records by proper application and Petition to the convicting court, but ONLY IF there was no felony prison time sentenced whether served or not, and if it was not for certain listed sexual crimes, and if all terms of sentencing and at least one year of probation are completed, and if there are no new charges pending.
If successful, the conviction would be retroactively withdrawn and the charges dismissed. Expungement does NOT ‘clear’, 'remove', ‘erase’ or ‘disappear’ the conviction. Nothing will. ‘Records are forever’. Expungement does change the record to show an arrest, charges filed, with 'conviction reversed and charges dismissed by expungement'. The conviction is still a 'prior' or 'strike' for purposes of repeat offenses. Expungement does not restore firearm rights lost because of felony conviction. Expungement will help in obtaining employment. When applying for a job in the PRIVATE sector, in response to any question concerning your prior criminal record, you may ‘legally’ deny that you were arrested or convicted of the offense. However, you must disclose the arrest and conviction in any questionnaire or application for certification or licensing by any government agency [medical, legal, educational, professional, law enforcement, security clearances, bonding, etc], for public office, for a position as a peace officer, for contracting with the California State Lottery, or for purposes of serving on a jury. The licensing agency and employer then will decide whether the nature of the past convictions and your record will bar you from licensing and employment in that field.
If you’re serious about doing this, and you think you qualify under those rules, feel free to contact me for the legal help you'll need.
I disagree with Mr. Nelson. Juvenile records are not automatically sealed. They are confidential and not open to the public, but they are there and available for the Department of Justice. To get them sealed and eventually destroyed requires a petition. Send me a private e-mail if you are interested in pursuing this further.
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