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Can Juvenile Records Be Expunged?

When a young person goes through the juvenile justice system, there is often a question about whether the file can be expunged. Many parents want to know the answer to this question because of the effects that a juvenile justice record can have on the child's future.

What does expungement do?

An expungement seals the records of the juvenile. It doesn't do away with the record. Instead, it means that records can't be viewed by the public. Outside records, such as news reports, aren't affected by an expungement.

Are all juvenile records eligible for expungement?

Not all records are eligible for expungement. Juveniles who are facing adult misdemeanor or felony charges can't have their juvenile records expunged. If restitution hasn't been paid, the juvenile was adjudicated on murder or aggravated murder, or the juvenile was convicted of an adult felony or an adult misdemeanor having to do with moral turpitude, the record can't be expunged.

Who handles expungement petitions for juvenile cases?

The juvenile court prosecutor's office who handled the original case and the juvenile court that handled the case are the parties involved in the petition. It is important to note that expungement petitions can't be made until the petitioning party has turned 18 years old and 1 year has passed since the juvenile was released from the juvenile justice system.

All matters involving juvenile justice are serious. It is vital that parents understand how they can help their juvenile to move through the system. Parents should also ensure that the child's rights are respected throughout the juvenile justice process.

Source: Utah Courts, "Expunging Juvenile Records," accessed Aug. 06, 2015

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