If you were arrested or involved in a criminal case while under the age of 18, you may have a juvenile record. Courts, police, and schools may be able to access these records. Informal probation offers juveniles the opportunity to avoid a criminal sentence.
In the past, completing informal probation would result in your juvenile record being sealed. A recent bill in California now allows prosecutors to access juvenile records even after you have completed informal probation. If you are a defendant in a criminal case and you have a juvenile record, California Assembly Bill 2952 may affect you.
What Is Informal Probation?
California has multiple types of probation, including formal and informal. While both types of probation work similarly, there is one notable difference. Formal probation involves supervision by a probation officer. The probationer meets up with their probation officer on a strict schedule.
Informal probation is also referred to as a conditional sentence or court probation. It is a voluntary program usually offered to juveniles in place of harsher punishments. There are no meetings with a probation officer. Instead, probationers report to the court when they submit proof of meeting probation requirements or change residence.
Informal probation normally only lasts for six months, while formal probation may last for years. After completing informal probation, the case is closed. If the informal probation is not successful, the juvenile will be sentenced for the crime.
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What You Should Know About Assembly Bill 2952
In the past, completing informal probation would mean juvenile records are sealed. A prosecutor no longer had the ability to see this information. Very few exceptions existed to make sealed juvenile records accessible, such as research about juvenile crime trends.
In 2018, Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill 2952 into law. This bill grants prosecutors access to California juvenile records, even if they have been sealed after a successful period of informal probation.
Attorneys may only access these records during criminal case proceedings to provide a defendant with exculpatory evidence that would clear their guilt. To access sealed juvenile records, a prosecutor must get court approval.
How Long Will a Juvenile Offense Stay on Your Record?
If you committed a crime as a juvenile, you might expect a juvenile offense to automatically drop off your criminal record after age 18. However, the offense stays on your record. Juvenile records are not open to the public but may be requested under certain circumstances by parties such as:
- Court personnel
- The juvenile
- Parents of the juvenile
- Lawyers involved with the case
Only authorized parties may see a juvenile record with a court order or after completing a Declaration in Support of Request to Inspect and/or Copy Juvenile Court Records Without a Court Order. If you complete informal probation, your juvenile record will be sealed. Otherwise, you may have to take action to have your record expunged or sealed.
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Why Should You Seal Your Juvenile Records?
Most people can agree that it would be wrong to let a childhood mistake ruin the rest of someone’s life. Making sure that your juvenile records are sealed can give you a better chance for success. You may benefit from:
- Easier employment accessibility
- Lower odds of housing discrimination
- State licensure
Your future prospects will be well protected. Regardless of Assembly Bill 2952, you should still have your juvenile records sealed. Only defendants in criminal cases may request information from your sealed records.
Aside from military and federal security clearance, sealed juvenile records are essentially treated as though they do not exist. When employers ask if you have a criminal record, you can legally say no.
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Contact Simmrin Law Group Today for Help
Even if you have a DUI, so long as your case was handled in juvenile court, you may be able to have your records sealed. A criminal defense attorney in California can assist you with the process.