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Do You Know Who Checks Juvenile Court Records?

Jul 8, 2008
The laws pertaining to the release of juvenile court records differs with every case. There are deciding factors that determine whether or not they can be released prior to the youth reaching adulthood and after they reach adulthood.

The type of crime the defendant committed and how his victims were affected will help determine whether or not the records will become public criminal records. No matter what the circumstances, there is always a way to access some of the information in the state court records.

Depending on how serious the crime is that the youth committed, crimes committed by a juvenile can count against them in the future. If the crime was serious or violent, then the crime might show up later on when they are an adult.

If the records are not sealed, then the child can petition the court to seal the juvenile court records, or the parents can petition the court for a sufficient amount of time, usually between five and six years, after the case has ended. If the petition is approved by the court, all of the arrest records and case records, along with all of the criminal records information, will be sealed.

Juvenile court records are often sealed when the youth reaches adulthood. Adult felonies committed result in open criminal reports. Youth who have been prosecuted for sexual assault must register as a sex offender with the criminal records bureau for their entire life. While some states automatically seal the records of a convicted juvenile, others will not seal them unless the offender requests a petition form the courts.

Some states permit cameras and recording devices in the juvenile courtroom at the judge's discretion. Many states close records and criminal reports once the youth is an adult. The media often gains access to state court records through outside sources. If this criminal records information is attained legally, then the press may publish it without revealing the youth's personal information.

In some areas, the court can block the press from releasing the information that they acquired during the trial, while other states allow them to publish it if they used an outside source. Some states prosecute people who reveal private or sealed juvenile records or criminal records information about a juvenile.

While they are all sealed, some amount of information from juvenile court records is accessible in every state. Online court records are often available. The most common allowance for revealing criminal records information from the state court records is in adult court proceedings when determining sentencing.

In such a case, any crimes in the defendant's prior criminal records, which were committed before reaching adulthood, would be considered when determining sentencing. In the legal system, confidential information never remains completely private.
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