As a concerned parent, you likely do all that you can to ensure that your child develops sound judgment so as to avoid many of the pitfalls that one may encounter during their youth in Woodstock. Yet despite your best efforts, your child is free to choose for themselves, and sometimes their choices may result in criminal consequences. If this happens, then your hope turns to ensuring that those consequences have a minimal impact on their future.
It is for this reason why so many in your situation ask if it is possible to have a juvenile criminal record expunged. Georgia law does not actually allow for expunction, meaning that any criminal activity on one’s public record is never actually erased. However, you can petition to have a juvenile record sealed. This keeps the details of a criminal offense from being discovered through traditional methods (such as a background check). Typically, one wanting to see a sealed record would have to get a court order to do so. The one exception to this the military, which works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to screen new recruits. If your child does intend to apply for military service, they should be advised against omitting the details of a juvenile offense on their applications (having an offense on their record may not automatically disqualify them from serving).
Per Section 15-11-701 of Georgia’s State Code, if your child has been adjudicated for a juvenile offense, they must fulfill the following criteria to qualify to have their records sealed:
- Have no subsequent criminal convictions (or pending charges against them)
- Demonstrate to the court that they are rehabilitated
- Wait two years from the final discharge of their juvenile case before applying
Applications to have a criminal record sealed must be filed with the adjudicating court.