Parents in Normandy Park and the rest of the Seattle-Tacoma area who have a teen with a juvenile record are understandably eager to help their son or daughter get a fresh start. If you want to get a juvenile arrest or conviction wiped from your teenager’s record, you may be in luck.
Juvenile record sealing in Washington State
Washington State law requires the court to hold an administrative hearing to determine whether a juvenile’s criminal record should be sealed. This hearing is triggered by one of three events, whichever occurs the latest:
- The respondent turns 18
- The respondent’s term of probation has ended
- The respondent completed their term of confinement or parole
This does not apply if the underlying crime was a drug offense, sex offense or a “most serious offense,” including many felonies. Also, if your teen gets convicted of a crime or charged with a felony after the sealing, the court will unseal their juvenile record.
Sealing is not the same as expunging
Another thing to keep in mind is that record sealing is different than expungement. An expungement erases your child’s criminal record so that it will never show up on a background check. A sealed record does not appear on a background check either, but someone could go to court to ask for an order to unseal it.
Giving your teen a second chance at their dreams
Still, having your daughter or son’s juvenile record sealed can greatly help them start out life as an adult. They will have an easier time getting into college, finding a job and a place to live. A mistake your daughter or son made when they were 14, 15 or 16 should not have to burden them in their 20s and 30s.