Samuel Eastman, Partner

Samuel Eastman

Partner

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.

TEXAS JUVENILE RECORD SEALING SERVICES

Your Past Mistakes Will Remain Public Until You Seal Them

Juvenile criminal records differ from adult records in certain aspects, but, ultimately, juvenile records result in most of the same issues, following you around in adulthood until they’re dealt with. Fortunately, Texas has passed laws like Senate Bill 1304 (SB 1304) making them harder to access, and the state has even provided ways for juvenile records to be automatically restricted or sealed in many cases.

The changes enforced by the state in the handling of juvenile records are a step in the right direction, but plenty of juvenile records are still susceptible to background checks. We’ll cover what types of records are now eligible to be automatically sealed, and then we’ll explain what types of juvenile records require and are eligible to be sealed using the Texas legal system.

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, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.

What to do when your Juvenile Record isn't automatically sealed?

After the passage of SB 1304, many low-level juvenile records may be automatically sealed, or sealed without application to the courts. Chapter 58 of the Juvenile Justice Code requires the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to certify to the applicable juvenile probation department that specific juvenile records need to be sealed automatically. The applicable juvenile probation department must determine whether juvenile records are eligible to be sealed without the need for you to petition a court or criminal justice agency.

If your juvenile record is ineligible for automatic juvenile record sealing, the next best option is to apply for sealing through the courts. It should be noted that not all juvenile records are eligible to seal, particularly with respect to more serious juvenile records. The rules pertaining to juvenile record sealing are very specific, but, as a rule of thumb, sealing is generally more likely when the offenses occurred a while ago, are not very serious crimes, and when the person has remained out of trouble since.

  • Automatic Sealing Records Without Application - Delinquent Conduct

    If you were referred to a juvenile probation department for delinquent conduct, and satisfy all the requirements below, you can have your records sealed without needing to apply through the courts. The requirements to qualify for this form of juvenile record sealing include:

    • You must be at least 19 years of age
    • You cannot have been adjudicated as having engaged in delinquent conduct or, if adjudicated for delinquent conduct, you were not adjudicated for delinquent conduct violating a felony
    • You cannot have any pending delinquent conduct matters
    • You cannot have had your case transferred by a juvenile court to an adult criminal court for prosecution under Section 54.02 of the Family Code
    • As an adult, you cannot have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail and
    • You cannot have any pending charges as an adult for a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail.
  • Automatic Sealing Records Without Application - Conduct Indicating Need for Supervision

    If you were referred to a juvenile court for conduct indicating a need for supervision, and satisfy all the requirements below, you can have your records sealed without needing to apply through the courts. In order to qualify for this form of juvenile record sealing, you must satisfy the following requirements:

    • You must be at least 18 years of age
    • You must have not been referred to the juvenile probation department for delinquent conduct
    • You cannot have been convicted of a felony as an adult and
    • You cannot have any pending charges as an adult for a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail.
  • What if Your Juvenile Record Is Not Elligible for Automatic Sealing?

    If your juvenile record is ineligible for automatic juvenile record sealing, the next best option is to apply for sealing through the courts. It should be noted that not all juvenile records are eligible to seal, particularly with respect to more serious juvenile records. The rules pertaining to juvenile record sealing are very specific, but, as a rule of thumb, sealing is generally more likely when the offenses occurred a while ago, are not very serious crimes, and when the person has remained out of trouble since.

  • General Requirements to Seal Your Juvenile Record

    The general rules to seal a juvenile record in Texas include are fairly straightforward, and include:

    • You’re currently at least 18 years old, or it has been at least 2 years since final discharge on all of your juvenile criminal matters
    • You have no pending adult criminal proceedings or current juvenile delinquent conduct proceedings
    • You have not been convicted of a felony as an adult
    • If you’ve been committed to a post-adjudication correctional facility, you must have been discharged by the agency who committed you
    • You must not have received a “Determinate Sentence” for certain serious offenses
    • You cannot have been found to have been engaged in “Habitual Felony Conduct”
    • You cannot be required to register as a sex offender and
    • Your case must not have been transferred to adult court.

    Some of these requirements are easy to understand, while others are more complicated and use terms you probably are not familiar with. These requirements are discussed in more detail below to help you get a better understanding of whether you qualify to seal your juvenile record.

  • Age and Time Requirements

    To seal your juvenile record, your situation needs to be either (1) that you are at least 18 years old; or (2) that at least 2 years have elapsed since the date of final discharge for each matter referred to the juvenile probation department. In other words, you either need to be an adult now, or you must have completed the terms of your juvenile sentence more than two years ago. Additionally, if you were committed to a post-adjudication correctional facility, you must have been discharged from the agency that committed you to that sentence.

  • Conduct Since Your Juvenile Offense

    The courts want to make sure that you have stayed out of trouble since becoming an adult, so it’s logical to require that (1) you do not have any current criminal matters; and that (2) you haven’t been convicted of a felony as an adult. Clearly, if you don’t satisfy both requirements, then the court will believe that you have not stated out of trouble.

  • Which Offenses are Ineligible to be Sealed?

    Texas permits the sealing of many juvenile offenses; however, certain serious offenses cannot be sealed or will make you ineligible entirely. If you are required to register as a sex offender, you will not qualify to seal your juvenile record. You must also not have received a “Determinate Sentence” or been found to have engaged in “Habitual Felony Conduct,” which both result from committing serious offenses as a juvenile. Your case also cannot have been transferred to adult court, as those types of cases would create adult records and are likely more serious.

    Determinate Sentences

    If a court has found that you have engaged in delinquent conduct for an offense eligible for a Determinate Sentence, you will not qualify for juvenile record sealing. These serious offenses include:

    • Murder, capital murder, manslaughter
    • Aggravated kidnapping
    • Sexual assault
    • Aggravated assault
    • Aggravated robbery
    • Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
    • An aggravated controlled substance felony
    • Criminal solicitation
    • Indecency with a child
    • Criminal solicitation of a minor
    • Arson

    Juvenile courts often use different terminology, but, essentially, this means that you cannot have been “convicted,” or what is equivalent to convicted, of any of the above offenses.

    Habitual Felony Conduct

    To be found to have engaged in "Habitual Felony Conduct," you need to satisfy the requirements of Texas Family Code Sec. 51.031, which are stated below.

    Habitual felony conduct is conduct violating a penal law of the grade of felony, other than a state jail felony, if:

    • The child who engaged in the conduct has at least two previous final adjudications of having engaged in delinquent conduct violating a penal law of the grade of felony
    • The second previous final adjudication is for conduct that occurred after the date the first previous adjudication became final
    • All appeals relating to the previous adjudications considered under (1) and (2) have been exhausted.

    Essentially, you’ll be found to have engaged in Habitual Felony Conduct if you’re convicted of a felony, and then after being found guilty, you commit another felony, and are convicted of that as well.

How can Expunging Your Record Help You Get Ahead?

  • How will sealing my juvenile record in Texas help me get a job?

    Sealing a juvenile record is the next best thing to expunging a record in Texas. Sealing juvenile records in Texas does not destroy them like an expungement, but it will ensure nothing relating to the sealed juvenile record will appear on any background checks.

    Once you receive a court order expunging your record, you may legally state that you weren’t arrested or convicted of the sealed juvenile record as though it never occurred. Your sealed juvenile record cannot be accessed, except in the following circumstances:

    • You may request to inspect your own records.
    • Your records can be unsealed if you are later tried for another felony.
    • When applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon.
  • Will sealing my criminal record in Texas restore my Second Amendment rights?  

    No, sealing a juvenile record will have no effect on your firearm rights. In many cases your firearm rights are automatically restored under Texas law, but in these cases your federal firearm rights are almost never restored. The only way to restore your firearm rights in Texas is by having your Texas Conviction Set-Aside.

    We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Texas on our Texas 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, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.

What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Juvenile 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 Texas 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
  • 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 Texas'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 Texas 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 Texas criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Texas 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 Texas state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!