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 removed from the court’s main records and moved to a separate and secure location.
The youth can honestly say he or she does not have a record. While only the court and a few other government agencies can see the juvenile record, it will be as if the record never existed to all other people and agencies, including potential future employers.
Ohio law requires that juvenile courts immediately seal juveniles’ records in any of the following circumstances:
- When a youth is arrested, but a formal complaint is not filed
- When a youth is charged with underage drinking, but completes a diversion program
- When the court dismisses the complaint after a trial or finds the youth no to be delinquent, unruly, or a juvenile traffic offender
- When a youth has been adjudicated an unruly child, the youth turns 18 and has no pending delinquency 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.
All sealed juvenile records are automatically expunged after five years or when the youth turns 23, whichever occurs first. Keep in mind, a record must first be sealed 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.