California California

Below is a general overview of when juvenile records can be sealed or destroyed in California. Please note that the Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not provide legal advice.

Read the legal policies and statutes for detailed statutory information.

Juvenile Record Clearance Policies Overview

Most juvenile records can be sealed.

  • Your juvenile record should be sealed after you successfully complete probation or supervision. This should be done automatically; you should not have to do anything to get the record sealed.
  • If your record was not automatically sealed, it can be sealed after you turn 18 or five years have passed since the last action in your case. You have to submit a request to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request.
  • If you were never charged, there may be law enforcement records related to your interaction with the police that can be sealed after you turn 18 or five years have passed since you were released from police custody for that charge. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request.

Most sealed juvenile records are destroyed when you turn 38.

If you have certain convictions or adjudications on your record, you may not be eligible to have you record sealed or destroyed.

Find a Lawyer

If you think you might be eligible to have your record sealed or destroyed, find a lawyer who may be able to help you. Some lawyers might help you for free, although you may still need to pay a fee to file the paperwork in court.

Court Forms and Resources

If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you may be able to file a petition on your own using these court forms and resources.

Explore legal service providers located in the state by proximity to a zip code or county.

Contact information for legal aid organizations, bar associations, and other organizations that engage in record clearance work is provided for informational purposes only. The Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not endorse or recommend any organization or individual referenced on the site. If you are a legal service provider who offers record clearance services, please contact us.

A Healthy Balance: Expanding Health Care Opportunities for Californians with a Criminal Record While Ensuring Patient Safety and Security

A Healthy Balance: Expanding Health Care Opportunities for Californians with a Criminal Record While Ensuring Patient Safety and Security

May 2014
Neighly, Madeline, Maurice Emsellem, and Anastasia Christman
National Employment Law Project

California: Can I Clear my Criminal Record? (Adult)

California: Can I Clear my Criminal Record? (Adult)

Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles

California: Cleaning Your Record / Expungement (Adult)

California: Cleaning Your Record / Expungement (Adult)

Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin

California: Cleaning Your Record Guide (Adult)

California: Cleaning Your Record Guide (Adult)

Judicial Branch of California

California: Criminal Record Dismissal & Expungement (Napa County) (Juvenile and Adult)

California: Criminal Record Dismissal & Expungement (Napa County) (Juvenile and Adult)

Napa County Office of the Public Defender

California: Expungement (Dismissal) of Criminal Records FAQs and Forms (San Diego County) (Adult)

California: Expungement (Dismissal) of Criminal Records FAQs and Forms (San Diego County) (Adult)

San Diego Office of the Public Defender

California: Expungement FAQ (Los Angeles County) (Adult)

California: Expungement FAQ (Los Angeles County) (Adult)

Los Angeles County Office of the Public Defender

California: Expunging Criminal Records: Step-by-Step Packet (Solano County) (Adult)

California: Expunging Criminal Records: Step-by-Step Packet (Solano County) (Adult)

Solano County Office of the Public Defender

California: Record Clearance (Santa Clara County) (Adult)

California: Record Clearance (Santa Clara County) (Adult)

Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

California: Roadmap to Reentry: A California Legal Guide (Juvenile and Adult)

California: Roadmap to Reentry: A California Legal Guide (Juvenile and Adult)

March 2016
Root & Rebound

California: Sealing Juvenile Records (Juvenile)

California: Sealing Juvenile Records (Juvenile)

2017
Judicial Branch of California

Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings in California: A Handbook for Juvenile Law Professionals

Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings in California: A Handbook for Juvenile Law Professionals

2011
Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, Sue Burrell and Rourke F. Stacy
Pacific Juvenile Defender Center

Records relating to a case for which the petitioner successfully completed probation or was granted an early termination of probation, pursuant to section 1203.3, can be set aside and dismissed by the court. Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.4(a)(1). Some felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors. Cal. Pen. Code § 17(b).

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Records relating to marijuana offenses decriminalized by the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act are dismissed, sealed, or redesignated by the court by July 1, 2020, unless the prosecution objects. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11361.9.

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Records relating to a misdemeanor conviction for which no probation was ordered, or records relating to an infraction can be set aside and dismissed by the court one year after the date of the judgement, provided the petitioner meets specified criteria. Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.4a(a).

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Records relating to a felony conviction can be set aside and dismissed by the court one year after sentence completion if the person was sentenced pursuant to section 1170(h)(5)(B). Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.41(a). Some felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors. Cal. Pen. Code § 17(b).

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Records relating to a felony conviction can be set aside and dismissed by the court two years after sentence completion if the person was sentenced pursuant to section 1170(h)(5)(A). Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.41(a). Some felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors. Cal. Pen. Code § 17(b).

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A conviction for a nonviolent offense, including but not limited to prostitution pursuant to section 647(b), can be vacated by the court if the offense was the direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. Cal. Pen. Code § 236.14.

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Records relating to a conviction for solicitation or prostitution pursuant to section 647(b) can be dismissed following completion of any term of probation. Upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the conviction was a result of the petitioner being a victim of human trafficking, the court can dismiss the record. Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.49.

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Records relating to an offense committed by current and former military personnel sentenced to probation pursuant to section 1170.9 can be dismissed in accordance with section 1203.4. Cal. Pen. Code § 1170.9.

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Records related to certain drug offenses under sections 11357 and 11360(b) in the Health and Safety Code are destroyed two years after the date of conviction or release from custody. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11361.5(a).

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Records relating to certain drug offenses that have been decriminalized in sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11362.1, 11362.2, 11362.3, and 11362.4, are eligible for dismissal by the court. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11361.8.

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Records of the arresting agency and related court records can be sealed two years after successful completion of a prefiling diversion program. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.87(a)(1).

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Records relating to a case dismissed following successful completion of a drug diversion program or deferred entry of judgment pursuant to sections 1000, 1000.5, or 1000.8, can be sealed by the court. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.90(a)(1).

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Records relating to a case dismissed after successful completion of the terms of a deferred entry of judgment can be dismissed by the court. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 1000.3, 1203.43.

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Records relating to an offense containing the name of an identity theft victim as the perpetrator of the crime can be deleted or sealed after the court has issued a determination of factual innocence. Cal. Pen. Code § 530.6(b), (c).

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Records relating to an arrest where no accusatory pleading is filed and the person arrested is factually innocent can be sealed by the law enforcement agency. After three years, the records of the arrest and notice of sealing are destroyed. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(a).

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Records relating to an arrest that did not result in conviction and for which the petitioner is factually innocent can be sealed by the court. After three years, the records of the arrest and notice of the sealing are destroyed. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(c).

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Records relating to an arrest for which no charges are filed are deleted from the records of the arresting agency and the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. The action is officially deemed a detention. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.6.

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Records relating to arrest and proceedings where no conviction was obtained can be sealed by the court without a waiting period. Cal. Pen. Code §851.91.

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A record relating to a matter sealed pursuant to section 781 is destroyed (1) five years after the record was ordered sealed if the person was alleged or adjudged to be a person described by section 601 or (2) when the person reaches 38 years of age if the person was alleged or adjudged to be a person described by section 602. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §781(d). Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781(d).

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Records relating to a delinquency petition filed with juvenile court can be sealed any time after the person's 18th birthday or after five years or more have elapsed since the jurisdiction of the juvenile court regarding the person was terminated. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781(a)(1)(A).

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Records relating to a matter that is dismissed following satisfactory completion of an informal program of supervision shall be sealed immediately. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786 (a).

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Records relating to a matter that is dismissed following satisfactory completion of probation for any offense or probation under section 725 shall be sealed immediately. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786(a).

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Records relating to any case where an accusatory pleading was filed but not sustained can be sealed upon petition at any time after dismissal of the proceeding, so long as the court finds that the person is factually innocent of the charges. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781.5(d).

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If the person was committed to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities for a 707(b) offense that was committed after the person had reached 14 years old, a record relating to that 707(b) offense may be sealed if the person has reached 21 years old and has completed his or her period of probation supervision after release. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §781(a)(1)(D)(i)(I).

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If the person was not committed to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities for a 707(b) offense that was committed after the person had reached 14 years old, a record relating to that 707(b) offense may be sealed if the person has reached 18 years old and has completed his or her period of probation supervision after release. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §781(a)(1)(D)(i)(II).

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Records relating to a petition dismissed by the court, whether on the motion of the prosecution or on the court's own motion, or if the petition is not sustained by the court after an adjudication hearing, shall be immediately sealed by the court. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786(e).

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An adjudication for a nonviolent offense, including but not limited to prostitution pursuant to section 647(b), may be vacated by the court if the offense was the direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. Cal. Pen. Code § 236.14.

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A record relating to a case in which no petition was filed can be sealed any time after the person's 18th birthday or if at least five years have elapsed since the person was cited to appear before a probation officer, was taken before a probation officer pursuant to section 626, or was taken before any law enforcement agency. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781(a)(1)(A).

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A record relating to any case where a minor was cited to appear before a probation officer; taken before a probation officer pursuant to section 626; or taken before any officer of a law enforcement agency, and no delinquency pleading was filed, can be sealed by the law enforcement agency and probation department that have jurisdiction over the offense upon request, concurrence of the district attorney, and determination that the minor is factually innocent. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781.5.

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