If you have a criminal record from acts committed when you were a teenager, you may assume that your record is sealed. After all, juvenile records typically are sealed from the public. You may be surprised to learn that not all juvenile records are sealed, and a past conviction can haunt you now that you are a responsible adult.
What kind of juvenile records remain?
- If you were certified or charged as a youthful offender or as an adult, the record is not sealed, even though you were younger than 18 when the incident took place.
- Traffic violations and motor vehicle offenses are not sealed.
- The record is not sealed if you were arrested for an offense that would have been a felony had it been committed by an adult.
- Violations of Oklahoma's Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco Act are not sealed.
- If you transferred to an Oklahoma facility following a delinquent adjudication in another state, and that adjudication would have caused you to be certified as a youthful offender if committed in Oklahoma, the record is not sealed.
Typically, the juvenile records which remain publicly available are those involving felony crimes and youthful offender certification.
What does it mean to be convicted as a youthful offender?
In most cases, minors who commit crimes are adjudicated delinquent through the juvenile court system. For more serious offenses, including violent crimes, sexual assault, and other specified felonies, a teen aged 15, 16, or 17 is typically certified as a youthful offender. (Note: 13 and 14-year-olds charged with first degree murder may be charged as youthful offenders or adults; 15, 16, and 17-year-olds charged with first degree murder are charged as adults.)
Crimes that will cause a 15 to 17-year-old to be charged as a youthful offender include the following:
- Second degree murder
- First degree manslaughter
- First degree rape or attempted first degree rape
- First degree rape by instrumentation or attempted first degree rape by instrumentation
- Forcible sodomy
- Lewd molestation
- First degree robbery
- Armed robbery
- Arson or attempted arson
- Shooting with intent to kill
Teens aged 16 and 17 are also charged as youthful offenders for the following acts:
- First degree burglary or attempted first degree burglary
- Second degree residential burglary after two or more adjudications for first degree burglary or second degree residential burglary
- Assault and battery on a state employee or contractor while in the custody or under the supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs
- Aggravated assault on a police officer
- Intimidating a witness
- Drug trafficking
- Drug manufacturing
- Assault and battery with a deadly weapon
- Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
- Second degree rape
If you were convicted as a 15, 16, or 17-year-old of any of the above crimes, you were likely convicted as a youthful offender. This means that you may still have criminal record that can have a detrimental effect on your employment and educational opportunities. Fortunately, Oklahoma allows for the expungement of youthful offender records and other juvenile records that may remain unsealed.
If you are 21 or older, have paid all costs and fulfilled all obligations associated with your juvenile conviction, and you have no subsequent or pending charges, you may be eligible to have your juvenile record expunged. Call 405-778-4800 to learn more.