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Will a Juvenile Crime Stay on My Record Forever?

In Ohio, sealing juvenile records can be an automatic process, depending on the specific circumstances of the criminal offense. Sealing means that the juvenile record is no longer part of the court’s main records. Instead, it is moved somewhere else.

Once a record is sealed, the minor doesn't have to admit to previous wrongdoing. It will be as if the crime never occurred to all other people and agencies, including potential future employers. However, only government authorities can view your record.

Ohio law requires that juvenile courts immediately seal juveniles’ records in any of the following circumstances:

  • A minor gets arrested, but no charges are filed.

  • A minor is charged with underage drinking, but finishes the diversion program

  • When the case is dismissed following a trial.

  • When the minor becomes an adult and no there are no outstanding charges.

The situations mentioned above occur where it is mandatory that the juvenile court seal the records. All juvenile records are eligible to be sealed, except murder, aggravated murder, and rape.

Furthermore, the court will also consider any motion or application made at least two years after (1) the termination of any order made by the juvenile court relating to your adjudication or (2) your unconditional discharge from the department of youth services. If none of those apply to your situation, then it is up to the juvenile court to determine whether or not to seal your juvenile records.

On the other hand, expungement of juvenile records is similar to permanent sealing. This means that the record is completely removed from the court’s records and destroyed, so no one will be able to see it.

Once five years have passed or when a minor turns 23, their record is automatically expunged. Keep in mind, a record needs sealing before it can be expunged. If a youth does not want to wait until he or she is 23 or the five-year time period is over, he or she can apply to have a sealed record expunged.

For more information, contact our Cleveland criminal defense lawyer at Patituce & Associates today.


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