With competition to get into college rises, the history of our youth begins to matter more and more. Colleges are becoming more particular with their requirements and standards, and more exhaustive with their investigation of potential applicants. If you are a juvenile with a record or are the parent/guardian of a juvenile with a court record, it is important for you to educate yourself on the process of juvenile expungement.
Many people believe expungement happens for juveniles automatically after their sentence is served and/or their probationary period is up. This is incorrect. Juvenile expungement is addressed in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9123. The statute lays out the process and procedure for the expungement of records in juvenile delinquency cases.
The process begins when the juvenile or the parents of a juvenile file a motion for expungement. A child is eligible for expungement under the statute if: the complaint was not substantiated or the overall petition was dismissed, the juvenile was discharged from supervision and at least six months have passed since the release (so long as there are no new or pending criminal charges), the juvenile has finished a commitment or probationary period or was otherwise released, and at least five years have followed with good behavior of the juvenile (again, so long as there are no new or pending criminal charges).
If, for example, you or your child turns eighteen and falls under the last category above, the record can still be expunged by expediting the process by getting the consent of the prosecutor. If the prosecutor consents, the parties may go in front of a judge and present information that corroborates good behavior, grades, etc. The judge may then grant the expungement.
The moral of the story with expungement is remember it is not automatic and you need to file for one in order to clear your name or your child’s name!