Moving on From Past Mistakes
When on the hunt for a job, mistakes made in your youth shouldn't hold you back. Fortunately, there are protections in place to prohibit most California employers from considering your juvenile criminal history when making a decision on whether or not to hire you. Let's look at the specific protections are you entitled to.
As of January 1, 2017, California employers are prohibited from asking applicants about their juvenile criminal history, to include arrests, detentions, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition if they were under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Likewise, employers in the State of California are prohibited from using information about an applicant's juvenile criminal history as a considering factor for employment if they discover such information.
This law provides protection for job seekers, but you still need to take steps to seal your juvenile record if you do not want it to appear on a background check. Despite what many people believe, the court doesn't automatically destroy your juvenile record once you turn 18. The court may automatically seal less serious juvenile cases if they are dismissed after January 1, 2015. They court must also automatically seal your case record if you had a deferred entry of judgment and completed all the requirements. If you are not sure if your case falls into one of these categories, speak with an attorney.
In most other cases, you will have to petition the court to seal your juvenile record. You are eligible to petition the court if you are 18, it has been at least five years since the court closed your case, or you've had your last contact with probation, and the judge determines you have been rehabilitated. Once sealed, you do not have to disclose the conviction on job applications, nor can an employer inquire about your juvenile criminal history.
You should also know that even if you seal your juvenile records, certain people or agencies can still see your record, such as the federal government and the military (if you need a federal security clearance). The court and the prosecutor can also view your record under certain circumstances, such as if you are involved in a defamation case, are applying for extended foster care benefits after you turn 18, or when the prosecutor needs to determine if you are eligible for a deferred prosecution program. Also, you can ask the court to unseal your records if you want to access them.
It is important to understand that this information only applies to your records from the juvenile court. If you have an adult criminal court record from an offense you had committed before you turned 18, you will have to petition the court to dismiss your conviction. Dismissal is not the same as sealing your record. Evidence of the case will still be visible on your record, but, if dismissed, your record will no longer show a conviction. Typically, juvenile court “convictions” are considered adjudications, and thus do not need to be disclosed to an employer whether the record of it is sealed or not.
We all make mistakes, and those we make in our youth should not hold us back when we're adults. Unfortunately, in today's competitive job market, employers often do all they can to ensure they aren't taking a chance on an employee. Accordingly, most companies routinely run background checks on all applicants they are seriously considering for employment. And, if you have a criminal history, you might not be given a chance.
If you are looking for a job and are concerned about your juvenile record, you aren't alone. While you do have certain protections when it comes to what an employer can and cannot hold against you, sealing your juvenile record is the only way to ensure an employer cannot access information about your juvenile criminal history. Sealing your juvenile record can help eliminate that concern so you can apply for jobs with confidence and assurance. Speak with a knowledgeable California attorney with experience in record cleaning if you want to take those steps toward peace of mind. An attorney can explain the process of cleaning your record, help you determine your eligibility, and advise you on the benefits sealing your juvenile record can bring you. An attorney can also explain how California labor laws apply to you and advise you on the rights and protections you have.
Do you have questions about cleaning your record? California attorney Christopher Martens knows California criminal defense and will work hard to help you clean your record so you can search for a job with confidence. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has helped many Californians move on from their conviction. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.