It is imperative to know that access to the juvenile records of an individual is more complicated in the United States of America in contrast to accessing records of adult crimes. A majority of American states maintain strict confidentiality about juvenile crime records and usually deny their access to the media and the public.
Juvenile records can be accessible by only specific organizations or individuals. These include the following:
- School officials
- Potential victims or victims
- Attorney of the juvenile
- Official of courts
- Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies
Plus, most of the states have laid down laws, which do not allow the availability of juvenile records to be made to the public. These States offer only restricted access to the parents of the juvenile, legal authorities or to the juvenile.
States such as Colorado and Tennessee enable access to juvenile records based on the crime severity and the juvenile's age. Colorado provides access to such records when the age of a juvenile is at least 12 years and has been charged by the plaintiff with any kind of a violent crime. On the other hand, Tennessee allows access to such records if the juvenile is at least 14-year-old and has been charged with a severe crime.
Scenarios where juvenile records are made available to Media and Public
There are some States in the United States with exceptions to the confidentiality imposed pertaining to juvenile records particularly if a juvenile has been charged with either a crime, which would be considered to be a felony when it is committed by any adult person or a violent crime. States having such an exception at present are Washington, Vermont, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia, Colorado, California, and Arkansas.
There are some states, on the other hand, which makes it a point to ensure that juvenile criminal records would not be shared with the media or public when the person becomes 21-year-old if there was no crime committed by him/her after becoming 18-year-old.
Will juvenile crime be displayed while conducting background checks?
Whether juvenile crime records will show up during conducting a background check for employment purpose is based on the state where such a check is being carried out. Every state has its own distinct sets of guidelines and laws, which mandate how the handling of juvenile records should happen.
There are states that do not permit juvenile records of a candidate to be shown while such background checks are conducted. However, in case either such background checks are being carried out for a government cause or by the government, such records can show up.
At the same time, sealing of such records does not remove the consequences of a conviction declared by a juvenile court. Such a record can be used against that person for further proceedings.
Is it possible for a person to expunge his/her juvenile records?
It is possible for a juvenile offender to file a lawsuit in the court with a petition to seal the conviction declared by a juvenile court. Such expungement enables a juvenile offender to declare to their landlords, licensing agencies, and employers that they were not convicted or put under arrest in the past.
In case a person faces troubles while accessing their juvenile criminal records, they can take the help of an experienced attorney dealing with juvenile crime cases on a regular basis. Although laws may vary from one state to another, such a lawyer will be well-acquainted with the laws of the state and can deal with ways of accessing or protecting such records.