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Aren’t Juvenile Records Always Sealed?

November 6, 2018

Juvenile Records Sealing

Aren’t Juvenile Records Always Sealed?

No! Up until recently, juvenile records of delinquent conduct in Texas were not automatically sealed. Recent changes in the law are meant to alter this process, but older records still need to be sealed by filing an application with the juvenile court and receiving a hearing.

Why is Sealing Important?

Unless records are formally sealed by a court order, they can be accessed by any person, agency, or institution that has a legitimate interest in the matter. Having a juvenile record can create major barriers in applying to college or enlisting in the military and obtaining financial aid, housing, public benefits, educational and licensing opportunities, or employment. An unsealed juvenile record can make it difficult to get past these youthful mistakes.

Who is Eligible?

Most juvenile records are eligible for sealing. Records become eligible for sealing at different times, depending on the degree of the offense (felony or misdemeanor), how much time has passed since the case was resolved (e.g., when the case was non-suited or community supervision was completed), and your current age. You can contact JCAP to find out whether you are eligible.

What Can I Do?

Whether you are trying to seal your juvenile record, or helping a young person seal her own record, JCAP is available to help, free of charge. Please contact our office, below, to ask about eligibility for sealing. If your record is eligible for sealing, JCAP provides free legal services to get your record sealed. For assistance, please contact:

Katya Dow

Legal Program Director


The Juvenile and Children’s Advocacy Project is a nonprofit legal services organization at the University of Houston Law Center.