In South Dakota, the public has limited access to juvenile court records. However, you may still benefit from having your record officially sealed, following the guidelines below. A sealed juvenile record may be accessed only by court order and only upon request from you, the South Dakota state attorney, or court services officers. The court may also use a sealed juvenile record in other juvenile court proceedings or in subsequent criminal proceedings against you, for the purposes of determining the proper sentence. Generally, however, sealed juvenile records are treated as though they never existed. You are not required to disclose information about your sealed juvenile record to anyone -- for instance, to colleges or potential employers.
Does Your Juvenile Court Record Qualify for Sealing?
Before asking a court to seal your juvenile record, you must wait one year from the time your juvenile case ends. The court will grant the request to seal your records if the court finds that:
- you have not been adjudicated delinquent since the end of the juvenile case you are seeking to seal
- there are no proceedings or charges pending against you for a felony, a sexual contact offense, or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, and
- the court believes that you have been sufficiently rehabilitated.
(South Dakota Statutes § 26-7A-115.)
How to File
To seal your juvenile record, you must file a petition with the court that handled your juvenile case. Contact the court clerk’s office for more information.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for sealing in South Dakota -- or for help completing the necessary paperwork or presenting your case to the court -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.