Juvenile Criminal Records in Williamson County
A juvenile file and a juvenile criminal record can exist for a juvenile (10 to 17 years old) if they were taken into custody or charged with a Class A or B, or in some cases a Class C misdemeanor, or a felony in Williamson County. This means that there can be a record on file for the juvenile with local law enforcement, the Texas Dept of Public Safety and the FBI.
Sealing Juvenile Records in Texas
It is possible to have a juvenile record sealed. According to the Texas Youth Commission website, that record is not destroyed or erased unless the record is eligible for sealing and the child or the child's family hires a lawyer to file a petition in court to have the record sealed. A judgment in favor of this petition will allow the court to remove the record from the criminal database. There are certain requirements that have to be met before this can be done:
- The juvenile was not sentenced in a juvenile penitentiary
- It was not a sex or gang related offense
- He or she was not certified and tried as an adult
- He or she has not been convicted of a felony offense
- Two years have passed since their discharge
It will be necessary to have an attorney file a petition with the court to seal juvenile criminal records. In some cases the juvenile may be eligible for automatic restriction of access. This does not require an attorney petition. It will happen automatically when the juvenile reaches the age of 21 under certain circumstances.
Automatic Restriction of Access to Records System
The Texas Family Code on juvenile law provides for automatic restriction of juvenile criminal records if the following criteria are met:
- the person is at least 21 years of age;
- the juvenile case did not include violent or habitual felony conduct resulting in proceedings in the juvenile court under Section 53.045;
- the juvenile case was not certified for trial in criminal court under Section 54.02; and
- 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.
If the certification of automatic restriction is given Texas DPS may not disclose the contents of the record or even the existence of the records to law enforcement or juvenile justice agency, individuals, including employers, and organizations unless criminal justice agencies are investigating and prosecuting criminal activity. This means that you can legally deny your were ever arrested or convicted of a crime.
It is very beneficial to get your juvenile records sealed without having to wait until you reach 21 years of age. The courts operate on a first come – first served basis in these matters, so it is to your advantage to act at once.
Stephen Hesse is a Texas board certified Williamson County criminal defense lawyer. He has many years of experience working as a prosecutor and defense attorney in the Texas Juvenile Justice system. He will do all the necessary steps to make sure your case is handled in the most expeditious manner possible. Contact Stephen Hesse for a free and confidential consultation for your juvenile criminal record removal.