Good News About Juvenile Expungements

Going through the legal system as a juvenile can be a scary and have a lasting impact on the child and their family. However, there is good news, a juvenile true finding does not have to hang over a person’s head forever. Effective June 1, 2021, under Indiana Code 31-39-8-3.5 if a juvenile has reached the age of 19 or has been discharged from the juvenile court system (whichever is later), the court on its own motion and without a hearing shall order the expungement of a juvenile’s record. This is good news for juveniles found true of minor crimes like minor consumption or simple possession of marijuana. No action is needed on the juvenile’s part if the requirements are met.

However, not every criminal act committed by a juvenile is automatically expunged. The court has some discretion even if the juvenile meets the requirements for automatic expungement under I.C. 31-39-8-3.5.  Specifically, the court based on the nature of the delinquent acts may not grant the automatic expungement if it would not serve the interests of justice. Three categories are excluded from automatic expungement. First, a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult, carrying a handgun without a license (I.C. 35-47-2), or a violation of I.C. 35-47-10 regarding children and firearms.

Just because a person has been denied automatic expungement or falls into one of the categories that prohibit automatic expungement that does not necessarily preclude a juvenile from obtaining an expungement through the normal process under I.C. 31-39-8-2, which states that any person may petition the court at any time to seal their juvenile’s record.

If you or somebody you know needs a juvenile expungement or has questions about the criminal process, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys in Indianapolis at Banks & Brower, LLC. We are available at all times by calling us at (317) 870-0019 or by emailing info@banksbrower.com. 24/7/365