Children make mistakes, which sometimes end in a juvenile record, but they shouldn’t have to pay for those mistakes as adults. A juvenile record in Michigan may include various confidential files that can be sealed, including diversion records, criminal records, testimony, reports, and social files. In Michigan, a court will sometimes seal a juvenile record related to criminal activity.
Getting A Copy Of Your Record?
Juvenile records cannot be found online, so to receive a copy of the juvenile’s record, go to the court where the adjudication occurred and order a certified record of the juvenile’s files. There will be a cost to receive a certified record which may vary. You can ask your attorney or call the court ahead of time to determine the exact cost of getting the record.
Confidentiality Of Court Records
Generally, all juvenile records are available to the public unless they have been sealed. However, diversion records are usually confidential in Michigan and are only released in very limited circumstances.
What Can Be Sealed?
Under Michigan law, a juvenile record can be sealed so long as the juvenile:
- Does not have a felony conviction
- Has no more than three juvenile convictions
- Has reached the age of 18 or has waited at least one year since their sentencing to request their record be sealed
Under Michigan law, the following convictions cannot be sealed:
- Misdemeanor or felony traffic offense
- Convictions that would result in at least ten years in prison if the defendant were an adult
- Convictions that included another person being physically assaulted.
- Convictions that included a weapon.
Read more in our blog: When Can Juveniles Be Charged As Adults?
Process For Sealing A Juvenile Record
To have a juvenile record sealed, the individual must petition the Department of State Police. The petition usually needs to include the person’s full name, current address, the record of adjudication, and documentation that they have not had any other adjudications or pending juvenile offenses. Additionally, a set of fingerprints and the filing fee generally need to accompany the petition, which can cost a minimum of $25.
Hearing And Determination
Once the application is submitted with all the required and requested supporting documents, the prosecutor will be able to review the petition and can contest the record being sealed. Once the prosecutor has the chance to review the petition and the record, the judge will review the petition and additional evidence to determine whether the juvenile record should be set aside.
During the hearing, the judge will generally be trying to determine two things:
- The circumstances and the individual’s behavior in support of the application for adjudication.
- Whether it is in the public’s best interest to seal the individual’s juvenile record.
An experienced attorney will recommend the best course of action to get a record expunged, like the following things that can help make a case for expungement:
- Showing that there hasn’t been any criminal activity since the adjudication.
- Providing a reason why the expungement is being requested, like a defendant trying to go to school or get a professional license, will go a long way with a court expunging a record.
- Provide records of recommendation.
- Provide proof of rehabilitation, such as anger management or substance abuse programs.
In addition, the person seeking expungement can speak and present evidence in favor of the expungement. The victims of the crimes and law enforcement officers may also testify against the expungement if they feel it is necessary.
Waiting Period For Sealing A Juvenile Record
Like getting any criminal record expunged or sealed, there is a waiting period to ensure that they won’t commit more crimes that would disqualify them from having the record sealed. Under Michigan law, for juvenile records, the individual must wait at least one year from the termination of the court’s jurisdiction, meaning when the court loses jurisdiction over the juvenile. This usually means that it must be at least one year since the juvenile finished any conditions applied in the sentence, like finishing sentencing or probation, or the individual has turned 19.
Benefits Of Sealing A Juvenile Record
Once a juvenile record is sealed, the individual will appear to the public as if they have never been convicted of a crime. This does not mean they do not have to pay fines, costs, or other money required under the sentence.
For example, if someone was sentenced at 17 years of age for damaging property and as part of their adjudication, they are required to pay $5,000 in restitution. At 19 years old, if they have only paid half of the money back and try to have their record expunged, they will still be required to pay the remaining money back to the victim.
Sealing a juvenile record will increase someone’s odds of being able to get into college, get a good job, and even find better apartments. The record will not be available except to certain government agencies for limited purposes.
Penalties For Sharing A Sealed Juvenile Record
Under Michigan law, it is a misdemeanor to reveal expunged record information to unauthorized individuals. This includes people who knew or should have known that the record was expunged but who nevertheless divulged or used the information. A misdemeanor may be punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Hiring An Attorney To Get A Record Sealed
It is important to contact an experienced attorney to have the best chance of getting the juvenile record expunged. Getting a record expunged will make someone’s adult life a lot easier than it would otherwise be with the mistake they made while a minor still hanging over their head. The attorneys at George Law Firm will be able to assist you in getting the record expunged. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at (248) 247-7459 or online.