Are Criminal Records Wiped at 18?
No. Your criminal records will not be wiped, cleared, sealed, or expunged just because you turned 18. Unsealed criminal records can be seen and requested by law enforcement officers, juvenile justice officers, probation officers, educational institutions, and prospective employers, among others.
Texas law does allow you to seal your juvenile criminal records for certain offenses following a waiting period. Likewise, certain criminal records for minor convictions that were handled by justice or municipal courts can be expunged under certain conditions.
How Does Sealing Juvenile Records Work in Texas?
When you successfully seal your juvenile records, they will be treated as if they don’t exist. This means that you can technically and lawfully state that you were never charged or arrested for a crime when asked. Also, if the police, a lawyer, or a judge were to be questioned about you, they must respond as if you never had a criminal record. Sealing likewise removes your records from the Texas criminal history or conviction database.
You must’ve been between 10 and 17 years old when you were arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or felony. But in most cases, you may have to wait until you’re 21 years old to have your records sealed. Likewise, not all criminal records may be sealed. For instance, sex offenses and aggravated felonies can’t be sealed. You also can’t have your records sealed if you were given a determinate sentence.
Sealed juvenile records may only be unsealed with permission from the juvenile court and for the following purposes:
- If you want to check your records.
- When applying for an LTC or license to carry a handgun.
- If you’re tried for a subsequent felony.
Sealed juvenile records may also be eligible for expunction or expungement, which offers better protection than sealing.
How Does Expunction of Juvenile Records Work in Texas?
Justice and municipal courts in Texas have jurisdiction over lesser criminal offenses, such as Class C misdemeanors and cases involving juveniles, except cases involving public intoxication. Juvenile courts can also transfer cases of civil truancy to justice and municipal courts.
Expunction of juvenile records results in the complete removal of all traces of your juvenile criminal records. You may qualify for expunction if:
- You’re 17 years old
- You were younger than 17 or at least ten years old when you committed the offense
- You were only convicted of only one offense that was punishable by a fine.
It’s important to note that there are provisions for expunging offenses that involve the consumption and possession of alcohol, failing to attend school, and possession of tobacco products and cigarettes.
Talk to a Top Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have any questions about having your criminal records sealed or expunged, please do not hesitate to reach out to the law office of Kyle Whitaker for legal assistance. You can learn more about your case and chances of getting your juvenile records sealed or expunged by speaking to our Texas criminal defense lawyer during a consultation, which you can schedule by calling our office at 817-332-7703 or contacting us online.