Mr. Eastman serves as the firm’s managing partner, and is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Texas.
Sam has helped thousands of clients expunge, seal, and set-aside records across the country, and has a passion for criminal justice reform. Previously, Mr. Eastman represented a number of corporate clients, focusing on tax law, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate transactions.
Mr. Eastman earned his JD and LLM from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
JUVENILE SEALING OF CALIFORNIA CONVICTIONS
Don’t Let Mistakes from Your Youth Ruin Your Future
Having a juvenile criminal record in California makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting the job you want, obtaining housing, getting professional licenses, legally owning a firearm, qualifying for government programs, going to college and receiving student loans, and many other opportunities which would otherwise be available to you.
Juvenile records are more difficult for the public to find than adult records, but they still often show up in background checks and have the same negative result. California recently passed Section 786 of the Assembly Bill 529, which amended Welfare and Institutions Code to provide for the automatically sealing of certain juvenile records. However, automatic sealing under the new law does not apply to all juvenile records, and many still require that you petition the court to do so.
If you have a juvenile record, it is important to understand whether your record, (i) has already been automatically sealed, (ii) is eligible to seal by informal request, (iii) is eligible for you to seal, or (iv) does not qualify for sealing. These laws can be somewhat complicated to understand, but we have done our best to provide enough information to figure out your best course of action.
This Information Is For You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Has Your Juvenile Record Been Sealed Automatically?
In October 2017, Assembly Bill 529 was passed, making significant changes to Section 786 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. These changes made it possible for many California juvenile records to be automatically sealed. Not all juvenile criminal records will be automatically sealed, but many qualify under the new law.
General Requirements for Automatic Sealing
The rules for automatic sealing of juvenile records in California are straightforward. To have your case automatically sealed under Section 786(a), you must satisfy the following requirements:
- The court must find that you satisfactorily completed the terms of your probation
- You cannot have been convicted of an offense listed in Section 707(b) of the Welfare and Institutions Code when you were 14 years or older
- Your case was dismissed after January 1, 2015.
1. Satisfactory Completion of Probation
For a court to find that you have satisfactorily completed probation under Section 786(c), the following must be true:
- You have completed the terms of your probation and
- You have no new findings of wardship or conviction for a felony offense or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude during your period of supervision.
What Is a Crime of Moral Turpitude
Determining what constitutes a crime of “Moral Turpitude” can be frustrating, as there are not dependable definitions of the term in California law. Regardless, the best way to think of a crime of moral turpitude is that it’s one involving a bad intent, meaning you have intentionally acted with the knowledge that the action could create a serious risk of harm to others. In other words, if you purposefully did something to harm another individual, it will likely be considered a crime of moral turpitude. While many of these crimes are violent, there are plenty non-violent, such as crimes of dishonesty like theft, embezzlement, and fraud.
Outstanding Restitution and Fines
If you have outstanding unpaid restitution, court fines and fees, or other financial obligations, you will not be prevented from successfully completing your probation and will be allowed to seal your record, but your sealed records can be used to enforce those orders and obligations.
2. Prohibited Offenses Preventing Automatic Sealing
The second major requirement for automatic sealing of a juvenile record is that you were not convicted of an offense listed in Section 707(b) of the Welfare and Institutions Code at the age of 14 years or older. These crimes are serious offenses, which include:
- Arson, as provided in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 451 of the Penal Code.
- Rape with force, violence, or threat of great bodily harm.
- Sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm.
- A lewd or lascivious act as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 288 of the Penal Code.
- Oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or threat of great bodily harm.
- An offense specified in subdivision (a) of Section 289 of the Penal Code.
- Kidnapping for ransom.
- Kidnapping for purposes of robbery.
- Kidnapping with bodily harm.
- Attempted murder.
- Assault with a firearm or destructive device.
- Assault by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
- Discharge of a firearm into an inhabited or occupied building.
- An offense described in Section 1203.09 of the Penal Code.
- An offense described in Section 12022.5 or 12022.53 of the Penal Code.
- A felony offense in which the minor personally used a weapon described in any provision listed in Section 16590 of the Penal Code.
- A felony offense described in Section 136.1 or 137 of the Penal Code.
- Manufacturing, compounding, or selling one-half ounce or more of a salt or solution of a controlled substance specified in subdivision (e) of Section 11055 of the Health and Safety Code.
- A violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code, which also would constitute a felony violation of subdivision (b) of Section 186.22 of the Penal Code.
- Escape, by the use of force or violence, from a county juvenile hall, home, ranch, camp, or forestry camp in violation of subdivision (b) of Section 871 if great bodily injury is intentionally inflicted upon an employee of the juvenile facility during the commission of the escape.
- Torture as described in Sections 206 and 206.1 of the Penal Code.
- Aggravated mayhem, as described in Section 205 of the Penal Code.
- Carjacking, as described in Section 215 of the Penal Code, while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon.
- Kidnapping for purposes of sexual assault, as punishable in subdivision (b) of Section 209 of the Penal Code.
- Kidnapping as punishable in Section 209.5 of the Penal Code.
- The offense described in subdivision (c) of Section 26100 of the Penal Code.
- The offense described in Section 18745 of the Penal Code. (30) Voluntary manslaughter, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 192 of the Penal Code.
If the offense you are trying to seal is on this list, you will not qualify for automatic juvenile record sealing. However, if the offense was dismissed, or reduced to a misdemeanor or lesser offense, you may still qualify.
What If I Don't Qualify for Automatic Sealing?
When you do not qualify to have your record sealed automatically, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot seal your juvenile record. If you qualify under the following rules, you will need to file a petition with the court to seal your record, but record sealing may still be an option. This would generally be the case if your case was not dismissed after September 1, 2015.
General Requirements to Seal a California Juvenile Record
When you cannot receive the automatic relief described above, the following must be true to qualify for the sealing of a juvenile record in California:
One of the following is true (i) you are at least 18 years old, or (ii) it has been 5 years since your case was closed, or (iii) it has been 5 years since your last contact with probation and a judge decides you’ve been rehabilitated
- Your conviction was not in an adult criminal court
- As an adult, you were not convicted of a crime of moral turpitude and
- You did not commit a serious sex offense listed in Section 707(b) of the Welfare and Institutions Code when you were at least 14 years old, and as a result you are required to register as a sex offender.
To better understand what’s considered a crime of moral turpitude, please refer to the discussion above on automatic juvenile record sealing. A list of the Section 707(b) offenses is also in the section above on automatic juvenile record sealing.
How Can Sealing Your California Juvenile Record Help You Get Ahead?
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each.
How Will Sealing My Juvenile Record Help Me Get A Job?
In most cases, sealing will clearly help. Sealing a juvenile conviction under California law allows you to legally state that you were not convicted of a crime—it is as if it never occurred. However, the military and certain federal agencies may be able to access your sealed juvenile records. For most private employers, though, your sealed juvenile record should not appear in a background check, but there are exceptions to this rule if you are applying to be a peace officer or in certain healthcare jobs.
Regardless, with the amendment of Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code, an employer may not ask a job applicant for information relating to an arrest that did not result in a conviction, may not ask about diversion programs, and may not even search for non-conviction records. This law prohibits information about non-convictions from being considered as a factor in any aspect of the employment process, however, employers may inquire into an arrest for which there is a pending trial. This new law considers pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt to be convictions. Regarding juvenile records, employers are prohibited from asking applicants about a juvenile case regardless of result and may not use information from those cases as factors in any aspect of the employment process.
Will Expunging My Felony Conviction Restore My Second Amendment Rights?
This is a much more difficult question to answer, as there are many ways to have your firearm rights restricted in California. Not everybody with a California juvenile conviction can restore their constitutional right to own or possess firearms, but California’s laws are favorable when compared to most other states. It should be noted that you can almost never restore firearm rights based on federal convictions, and it can be very difficult if your Second Amendment rights were taken away due to a domestic violence conviction. For more information about federal firearm rights and domestic violence charges, the Department of Justice has resources you can find over domestic violence convictions.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in California on our California Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, setting up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the potential benefits of getting rid of your arrest record in California include:
- Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
We Are Here to Help
Each of California's methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what California criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of California criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a California criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all California state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!