Removing records of juvenile offenses

Most people in North Carolina likely understand that teens and juveniles often lack the judgment and life experience to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. Still, if those actions qualify as criminal activity, local statutes may require they face some degree of punitive action. For the parents of those youths facing such action, the hope is that the consequences they face will not continue beyond whatever criminal punishment the law mandates.

How can they? According to information shared by the Center for American Progress, roughly three of five colleges and universities require applicants to undergo a background check, as do nearly nine of 10 employers. Speaking specifically of employment, applicants with a criminal conviction on their records are 50%-63% less likely to progress beyond an initial interview for a job. These statistics highlight the need for teens and juveniles to seek to have their records cleared to avoid limiting their future opportunities. Yet is that possible?

Sealing a juvenile record

Per the Juvenile Law Center, North Carolina state law allows courts to order a juvenile criminal record sealed if officials believe it to be necessary. Having a record sealed means that most parties will not be able to discover a past arrest, yet certain public agencies and private organizations may still have access to such records.

Petitioning the court for an expunction

Expunction, however, ensures that no record of one’s juvenile arrest remains. Once a teen reaches the age of 18 (and completes whatever criminal consequences accompany their arrest), they can seek to have their juvenile record expunged. Most juvenile offenses qualify for expungement; the only exceptions are offenses that would qualify as felonies if committed by an adult.