For most teenagers, the mistakes and rebellions of their high school years will eventually become nothing more than stories that their parents occasionally tell. Unfortunately, for those who wind up arrested for misbehavior during their teen years, the criminal record associated with those charges could impact their life for the foreseeable future.
Your child’s criminal record could affect their ability to secure admission to college. Even if they do get into a school, they may have a harder time securing funding, as everything from federal student aid to school and private scholarships will usually preclude those with criminal records from receiving financial aid. Additionally, employers and even landlords will do background checks.
Your family could wind up in a situation where your child can’t secure their own housing, job or education. Sealing a youthful criminal record is often the best option for a family in Texas dealing with the fallout of a teenage mistake.
What steps must you take to seal a juvenile criminal record in Texas?
In certain circumstances, where the youthful offender is now over 21 and has avoided additional legal trouble since reaching the age of 17, the state of Texas may provide an Automatic Restriction of Access to Records.
The records about your child’s previous offense will only be available to law enforcement officials in most circumstances. Private organizations and citizens performing background checks will not have access to information about your child’s arrest or charges.
You can also potentially file a petition for the Sealing of Filing and Records. You have to file this petition in the same jurisdiction where your child went to court. In theory, this will further restrict access to records about the juvenile offense in question.
Who isn’t eligible for record sealing?
While the goal of the juvenile justice system is typically rehabilitation for youthful offenders, there are serious circumstances in which the state of Texas will not allow someone a clean slate after a conviction.
Those who plead guilty or wind up convicted of a felony, especially if the case went to adult court, likely can’t request the sealing of their records. The same is true for felony convictions with a determinate sentence. Repeat offenses, particularly repeat felony offenses, will also preclude record sealing. Finally, situations where the youthful offender has to register as a sex offender will usually not permit the sealing of the records associated with that offense.