Do Juvenile Records Get Sealed When You Turn 18?

Written By: Moermond & Mulligan, LLC

Last Updated: 07-10-2024

Posted on Saturday, June 15th, 2024 at 9:00 am    

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Do Ohio juvenile criminal records get sealed when you turn 18? Not automatically. However, you can get your record sealed and even expunged. And as long as you aren’t arrested for or convicted of any more crimes, you can say you do not have a criminal record.

The Impact of a Juvenile Record

Why would you care about sealing your juvenile record? It’s not an adult criminal record, so what’s the harm? Well, even a juvenile record can negatively impact your future.

For example, it may make it more difficult for you to get into the college or profession of your choice. A juvenile record doesn’t look good on either college or job applications. This record can also make it harder to get into the military. It can also prevent you from receiving certain licenses from the state, including nursing and teaching licenses.

Sealing vs. Expunging

What’s the difference between having your juvenile record sealed or expunged?

Sealing is when the court removes your record from the main database. Only the juvenile court can see sealed juvenile records, and they do not appear in most background checks. However, they may still appear in Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) background checks.

Expunging is when the court permanently removes and destroys your record. An expunged record legally no longer exists. It doesn’t appear in any background checks and cannot be used against you.

Having your record expunged is obviously better than having it sealed. However, sealing your record is the first step to having it expunged.

How Do I Get My Juvenile Record Sealed?

Records of certain crimes, like murder and rape, cannot be sealed or expunged. However, barring those, you can apply for the court to seal your juvenile record. When you’re able to apply depends on your age, as laid out in Section 2151.356 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC):

  • If you are under 18, you can apply for the court to seal your record six months after your discharge from parole.
  • If you are 18 or older, you can apply for the court to seal your record immediately after your discharge from parole.

It’s important to remember that the court will not seal your record automatically. You must file an application, which may also need to include supporting documentation. After you submit your application, the court may investigate your level of rehabilitation. And then, the court will give the prosecutor 30 days to object.

The court may seal your record without a hearing if the prosecutor doesn’t object. However, if the prosecutor objects, the court will schedule a hearing within 30 days of receiving the prosecutor’s response.

Some factors the court may consider in its decision to seal your juvenile record include:

  • Your age, both at the time of the offense and now
  • The nature of your offense
  • Your delinquent history since the offense
  • Your education and employment
  • Your progress toward rehabilitation

How Do I Get My Juvenile Record Expunged?

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Getting your record expunged is the next step after getting it sealed. However, there is nothing you need to do for this step. The court automatically expunges sealed juvenile records after a certain amount of time.

According to ORC Section 2151.358, the court will expunge your sealed juvenile record either:

  • After the record has been sealed for five years, or
  • On your 23rd birthday

The court will expunge your record on whichever of these dates comes first. So, if the court sealed your record when you were 17, it will expunge it when you are 22. And if the court sealed your record after turning 18, it will expunge your record when you turn 23, not after the full five years.

Cincinnati Juvenile Defense Attorney

If you have a juvenile criminal record in Ohio, it’s in your best interest to have the court seal and later expunge it. When this happens, you get a blank slate, and your past mistakes won’t be able to impact your future negatively.

Call Moermond & Mulligan, LLC at (513) 421-9790 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation about your case with one of our experienced juvenile defense attorneys. We’ll walk you through the record sealing and expungement process and answer any questions you have.