Everybody makes mistakes, especially when they’re young. Unfortunately, many of the dumb ideas that we have when we are younger aren’t necessarily legal. So you have a juvenile record, even though you’ve grown up, become an adult, and have evolved as an individual. But don’t juvenile records go away once you become an adult?
The answer to that particular question is no. Unfortunately, juvenile records don’t just automatically go away once you become an adult.
But there is a system in place to allow individuals to have their juvenile records destroyed. This doesn’t happen automatically, you need to apply for it, but it can help you to move beyond your criminal record.
We’re going to be learning what options are available for citizens of Arizona when it comes to setting their criminal records to rest. Arizona functions differently than many other states, so this may be different from what you expect. Then we’ll move into how juvenile record destruction works, and what steps you need to take to have your juvenile record destroyed.
How Does Somebody Move Beyond Their Criminal Record?
Most states have some sort of expungement law on the books. The way that expungement works in most states is that it erases the public record of a conviction. This way, when somebody like a potential employer or potential landlord looks at your criminal record, they won’t see a record of the crime that was expunged. Another fairly common option many states have is the ability to seal a record, which is similar in nature to expungement.
Arizona’s system works differently, however. Instead of expunging or sealing a record, a person can have their conviction “set aside.” A conviction that is set aside will still show up on a background check, so it doesn’t hide the conviction in the way other states might. But a background check would show that the conviction was set aside, so they know all the requirements of probation and sentencing have been met, so the conviction was vacated.
Keep in mind that this is assuming that you were guilty of the crime in question. If you were wrongfully charged or arrested, then there may be additional options available to you. There are also additional options for victims of human trafficking that have been charged with prostitution.
For those who were convicted as adults, this is the only avenue open for moving beyond a criminal record. It never eliminates it, but it cleans it up nicely. In contrast, juvenile crimes are much easier to erase from your personal history.
What Is Juvenile Record Destruction?
Juvenile record destruction is what it sounds like. It isn’t something vague like “setting aside” a conviction. It is the destruction of your juvenile record for almost all intents and purposes. There is one caveat that is worth noting, though.
While having your juvenile record destroyed makes it so potential employers and landlords are unable to see the conviction, it does not eliminate the record entirely. Law enforcement will still be able to see the conviction. The courts are also able to see the conviction. In this regard, juvenile record destruction is basically the same as expungement in other states. The big difference is, of course, that it only applies to juvenile records rather than any applicable charge.
More information about how juvenile record destruction works can be found in the Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 8-349. One important thing this section of the Revised Statutes sets forth is the necessary requirements an individual must meet to have their juvenile records destroyed. The requirements include:
- The individual in question is now an adult (18 years of age)
- The conviction in question was not for a felony
- The conviction in question was not for a crime listed in Section 13-501 of the Revised Statutes
- The individual is not facing any pending criminal charges
- The individual met all the terms and conditions of their probation or juvenile corrections
- Any and all restitution has been paid
- Any court-ordered monetary obligations have been completely paid
- The individual in question has not been required to register as a sex offender
- The person in question is not under the jurisdiction of the department of juvenile corrections or the juvenile court
If all of these requirements have been met, then the juvenile court may allow the individual’s juvenile records to be destroyed.
There is also a way to have the juvenile court and juvenile correction records destroyed. This is an option for those who cannot have their juvenile record destroyed. The requirements for this are similar but slightly different; specifically, they are slightly easier. So this option may be useful for those who don’t qualify for juvenile record destruction.
How Do You Get Your Juvenile Record Destroyed?
It is the court’s duty to inform juvenile defendants of their right to seek the destruction of their juvenile records. This is supposed to happen at any disposition involving a juvenile defendant. However, many people are too stunned by the whole experience to really pay close attention to what is being said.
If you have a juvenile criminal record in Arizona, then you are able to request the destruction of your juvenile record by filling out and submitting the appropriate form. The court will consider the request. If you don’t have the necessary requirements, then they will deny the destruction.
If they approve, your juvenile records will be destroyed. This can allow you to move past your past. It may also allow you to apply for the restoration of your right to bear arms, though there are other factors that may prevent this depending on the circumstances.
Can an Attorney Help?
If you are a juvenile that is facing criminal charges, then you should reach out to an attorney as soon as humanly possible. You want to ensure that your attorney has enough time to gather all the information they need to put together a solid defense.
An attorney may also be able to help you with getting your juvenile record destroyed, though the process is fairly simple these days. While this means that you do not require an attorney, working with one can often make the experience easier.