Expunging or Sealing a Juvenile Court Record in Arkansas
In Arkansas, most juvenile records are automatically sealed. The primary exception is for delinquency adjudications in which the juvenile could have been tried as an adult. In such cases, the records remain available for law enforcement purposes for ten years after the final delinquency adjudication or adult criminal conviction. (Arkansas Statutes § 9-27-309.)
In addition to sealing, many juvenile records qualify for expungement -- that is, complete destruction. After your juvenile record is sealed and expunged it is, legally speaking, as though the record never existed and the related conduct never happened. You need not disclose the information to others.
Expunging Juvenile Records
Ordinary offenses. If you were adjudicated delinquent for anything other than an offense for which you could have been tried as an adult, a judge may agree to expunge your record at any time, and must do so when you turn 21.
Serious offenses. If your juvenile record involves an offense for which you could have been tried as an adult, your record may qualify for expungement ten years after the last of the following:
- your final adjudication of delinquency
- the date you last pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to an adult offense, or
- the date you were last found guilty of an adult crime.
(Arkansas Statutes § 9-27-309.)
How to File
To have your juvenile record expunged, you must file a uniform petition to seal the record with the circuit court in the county that handled your case. You can find the necessary form at the Arkansas Crime Information Center website.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for sealing and expungement in Arkansas -- or for help filing the necessary paperwork -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.