Texas Juvenile Crimes Lawyer
A child's juvenile crimes can come back to haunt them. Whether they are applying for a job, for college, student housing, loans, grants, or scholarships, their lives can be affected in any number of ways, including damage to their reputation. A youth's transgressions should not be held against them as they grow up in the world and try to become a contributing part of society.
At the Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell, located in San Antonio, Texas, we believe in helping juveniles realize they have a second chance by helping with the sealing of their juvenile criminal records. We are here to provide the means to achieve a fresh start. To learn more about the sealing juvenile criminal records process, please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
In Texas, like many other states, individuals with juvenile records are eligible to have their juvenile criminal record sealed, and the process is very similar for adults seeking an expungement or an application for a sealed criminal record. However, it helps to have an attorney who is familiar with both procedures and who understands the specific differences between the adult and juvenile processes.
The Record Sealing Process for Juvenile Offenses in Texas
Generally, according to section 58.003 of the Texas Family Code, juvenile records can be sealed if at least two years have lapsed since the case and there has not been any criminal involvement in crimes of moral turpitude (felonies or misdemeanors ) during that time. Anthony Cantrell can assess your child's situation and explain if they qualify for sealing their juvenile criminal records and the process, which includes:
- Filing an application to seal juvenile files and records
- Serving application on all relevant agencies
- Representing you at the hearing for sealing juvenile criminal records
If your application is granted, the judge will issue a court order to seal your child's record and it will be removed from all publicly searchable databases. The record will not be destroyed, but it should not be able to appear if being searched by, for example, a potential employer or credit bureau. Our firm will do everything we can to aggressively represent you at the hearing and argue why your child should be given a fresh start and not have your child's past follow him or her into the future.
Additionally, section 58.203 of the Texas Family Code allows for access to certain criminal records to be restricted automatically. Once the file is transferred to this section, the Texas Department of Public Safety may not disclose the existence of the juvenile record or any information from the record in response to an inquiry from:
- A law enforcement agency
- A criminal or juvenile justice agency
- Any person, agency, organization, or entity
In fact, Texas law requires the holder of this type of juvenile record to report that the record does not even exist. If a crime falls under this category, the person who is named in the juvenile record can report to anyone who asks that he or she has not been arrested, charged, or convicted of any crime. We can help you see if your sealing juvenile criminal record petition fits under this statute and help you assert this right.
A Note About Juvenile Treatment Records
It is important to note that juvenile treatment records, or records that concern counseling, placement, and drug treatment, are always confidential and are accessible only by authorized users. Generally, these records are not available on public databases and are not disclosed to any government or private parties.
Comal County Juvenile Drug Possession Defense Attorney - Free Consultations
If your child has a juvenile crime record in Bexar County, or the surrounding area, contact our Texas juvenile crimes attorney at the Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell at 210-888-9653 or by email for a free initial consultation about how to have the record sealed and any other questions you may have about protecting your child and their future.
TEXAS FAMILY CODE: 58.003 SEALING OF RECORDS
(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), on the application of a person who has been found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, or a person taken into custody to determine whether the person engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, on the juvenile court's own motion the court shall order the sealing of the records in the case if the court finds that:
(1) two years have elapsed since final discharge of the person or since the last official action in the person's case if there was no adjudication; and
(2) since the time specified in Subdivision (1), the person has not been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision and no proceeding is pending seeking conviction or adjudication.
(b) A court may not order the sealing of the records of a person who has received a determinate sentence for engaging in delinquent conduct that violated a penal law listed in Section 53.045 or engaging in habitual felony conduct as described by Section 51.031.
(c) Subject to Subsection (b), a court may order the sealing of records concerning a person adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct that violated a penal law of the grade of felony only if:
(1) the person is 21 years of age or older;
(2) the person was not transferred by a juvenile court under Section 54.02 to a criminal court for prosecution;
(3) the records have not been used as evidence in the punishment phase of a criminal proceeding under Section 3(a), Article 37.07, Code of Criminal Procedure; and
(4) the person has not been convicted of a penal law of the grade of felony after becoming age 17.
(d) The court may grant the relief authorized in Subsection (a) at any time after final discharge of the person or after the last official action in the case if there was no adjudication. If the child is referred to the juvenile court for conduct constituting any offense and at the adjudication hearing the child is found to be not guilty of each offense alleged, the court shall immediately order the sealing of all files and records relating to the case.
(e) Reasonable notice of the hearing shall be given to:
(1) the person who made the application or who is the subject of the records named in the motion;
(2) the prosecuting attorney for the juvenile court;
(3) the authority granting the discharge if the final discharge was from an institution or from parole;
(4) the public or private agency or institution having custody of records named in the application or motion; and
(5) the law enforcement agency having custody of files or records named in the application or motion.
(f) A copy of the sealing order shall be sent to each agency or official named in the order.
(g) On entry of the order:
(1) all law enforcement, prosecuting attorney, clerk of court, and juvenile court records ordered sealed shall be sent before the 61st day after the date the order is received to the court issuing the order;
(2) all records of a public or private agency or institution ordered sealed shall be sent before the 61st day after the date the order is received to the court issuing the order;
(3) all index references to the records ordered sealed shall be deleted before the 61st day after the date the order is received, and verification of the deletion shall be sent before the 61st day after the date of the deletion to the court issuing the order;
(4) the juvenile court, clerk of court, prosecuting attorney, public or private agency or institution, and law enforcement officers and agencies shall properly reply that no record exists with respect to the person on inquiry in any matter; and
(5) the adjudication shall be vacated and the proceeding dismissed and treated for all purposes other than a subsequent capital prosecution, including the purpose of showing a prior finding of delinquent conduct, as if it had never occurred.
(g-1) Any records collected or maintained by the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, including statistical data submitted under Section 141.044, Human Resources Code, are not subject to a sealing order issued under this section.
(h) Inspection of the sealed records may be permitted by an order of the juvenile court on the petition of the person who is the subject of the records and only by those persons named in the order.
(i) On the final discharge of a child or on the last official action in the case if there is no adjudication, the child shall be given a written explanation of the child's rights under this section and a copy of the provisions of this section.
(j) A person whose records have been sealed under this section is not required in any proceeding or in any application for employment, information, or licensing to state that the person has been the subject of a proceeding under this title and any statement that the person has never been found to be a delinquent child shall never be held against the person in any criminal or civil proceeding.
(k) A prosecuting attorney may, on application to the juvenile court, reopen at any time the files and records of a person adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct that violated a penal law of the grade of felony sealed by the court under this section for the purposes of Sections 12.42(a)-(c) and (e), Penal Code.
(l) On the motion of a person in whose name records are kept or on the court's own motion, the court may order the destruction of records that have been sealed under this section if:
(1) the records relate to conduct that did not violate a penal law of the grade of felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail;
(2) five years have elapsed since the person's 16th birthday; and
(3) the person has not been convicted of a felony.
(m) On request of the Department of Public Safety, a juvenile court shall reopen and allow the department to inspect the files and records of the juvenile court relating to an applicant for a license to carry a concealed handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code.
(n) A record created or maintained under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, may not be sealed under this section if the person who is the subject of the record has a continuing obligation to register under that chapter.
(o) An agency or official named in the order that cannot seal the records because the information required in the order under Subsection (p) is incorrect or insufficient shall notify the court issuing the order before the 61st day after the date the agency or official receives the order. The court shall notify the person who made the application or who is the subject of the records named in the motion, or the attorney for that person, before the 61st day after the date the court receives the notice that the agency or official cannot seal the records because there is incorrect or insufficient information in the order.
(p) A person who is eligible to seal records may file an application for the sealing of records in a juvenile court of the county in which the proceedings occurred. The application and sealing order entered on the application must include the following information or an explanation for why one or more of the following is not included:
(1) the applicant's:
(A) full name;
(C) race or ethnicity;
(D) date of birth;
(E) driver's license or identification card number; and
(F) social security number;
(2) the offense charged against the applicant or for which the applicant was referred to the juvenile justice system;
(3) the date on which and the county where the offense was alleged to have been committed; and
(4) if a petition was filed in the juvenile court, the cause number assigned to the petition and the court and county in which the petition was filed.
TEXAS FAMILY CODE: 58.203. CERTIFICATION.
(a) The department shall certify to the juvenile probation department to which a referral was made that resulted in information being submitted to the juvenile justice information system that the records relating to a person's juvenile case are subject to automatic restriction of access if:
(1) the person is at least 21 years of age;
(2) the juvenile case did not include violent or habitual felony conduct resulting in proceedings in the juvenile court under Section 53.045;
(3) the juvenile case was not certified for trial in criminal court under Section 54.02; and
(4) the department has not received a report in its criminal history system that the person was granted deferred adjudication for or convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail for an offense committed after the person became 17 years of age.
(b) If the department's records relate to a juvenile court with multi-county jurisdiction, the department shall issue the certification described by Subsection (a) to each juvenile probation department that serves the court. On receipt of the certification, each juvenile probation department shall determine whether it received the referral and, if it received the referral, take the restrictive action notification required by law.
(c) The department may issue the certification described by Subsection (a) by electronic means, including by electronic mail.