How to Seal Juvenile Records

Get a copy of your Juvenile Records

It is very important that you get a copy of your juvenile record and know exactly what is in it, because you will need this information to fill out your court forms properly. You can get a copy of your juvenile from the Clerk’s Office of the Juvenile Court where your case was adjudicated.[3356] Make sure you bring a photo ID with you, or you will not be able to get your record.

Get and Fill out a Petition to Seal Juvenile Records

When you go to the clerk’s office to get a copy of your juvenile record, you should also ask the clerk for a copy of the proper form, called a Petition to Seal Juvenile Records, and any instructions that go with it. Follow the instructions carefully, especially when you are asked to list the arrests or charges that you want sealed. ONLY THE ONES YOU LIST WILL BE SEALED! This is why it is important to have a copy of your juvenile record with you so you do not miss anything.[3357]

File your Petition

    Take your completed petition back to the Clerk’s Office of the juvenile court you were adjudicated in and file it with the clerk.
    Ask the clerk if the petition needs to be served on any other parties (such as the District Attorney or the Probation Department). If it does, be sure to ask the clerk if the clerk’s office will serve it, or if you have to serve the papers yourself.
    After you have filed your petition, you will get a court date for a hearing. The clerk may set the hearing date when you file your petition, or you may receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail (it can take several weeks to get your Notice of Hearing by mail).

The Hearing

    At the hearing, the judge will consider your petition AND get a recommendation from the probation department about whether your record should be sealed.
    You are not required to attend the hearing, but it is a good idea to go so that you can answer any questions that the judge might have. You are also allowed to bring witnesses to testify on your behalf (such as a pastor, teacher, employer, counselor, or other people who know you and can speak positively about you).
    After the hearing, the judge will rule on (decide) whether or not to seal your records. If the judge grants your petition and seals your records, s/he will also order all other agencies that have juvenile records on you (such as the police, probation department, DOJ, and DA) to seal their records also.


If the judge denies your petition, ask the judge if and when you will be able to re-file your petition. You should also ask the judge for the reasons why s/he denied your petition, so that you can fix or address any problems before you re-file.

IMPORTANT: As of January 1, 2015, California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 786 changed so that juveniles who successfully complete probation, and otherwise qualify to have their record sealed, will have their juvenile record automatically sealed by the judge, without having to file a petition in court or do anything else.[3358] However, this DOES NOT apply to juveniles who completed their probation BEFORE January 1, 2015. If you completed your juvenile probation BEFORE January 1, 2015, you will still need to file a petition in court to have your juvenile record sealed.


  1. 3356

    See Sealing Your Juvenile Records, Public Counsel (2013),

  2. 3357

    See Sealing Your Juvenile Records, Public Counsel (2013),

  3. 3358

    Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786.