Can Background Checks See Juvenile Records?

By Michael Klazema on 8/7/2019

It is common knowledge that most criminal records—including misdemeanor and felony convictions—can show up on background checks. When it comes to juvenile records, many people aren’t sure what to expect from a background screening process. Do juvenile criminal records show up on a criminal background check just as any other criminal activity would? Or are juvenile records sealed and protected from appearing on background checks?

In the simplest terms, juvenile records are criminal records. If you have a juvenile record and a job application asks whether you have ever been convicted of a crime, the only honest answer is, “Yes.” While being tried and convicted as a juvenile is different than being tried and convicted as an adult—mostly regarding punishment—both situations qualify as criminal records. The right background check can find either.

The simple answer isn’t the full answer, though. For juvenile criminal records, there are different laws in each state that govern how these records are handled.

Some states permit minor juvenile offenses to be automatically expunged once the perpetrator turns 18. Other states don’t have automatic expungement laws for juvenile records. Expunged records don’t show up on background checks. More severe juvenile offenses are more likely to stay on your record for a longer period.

Even if your state doesn’t automatically expunge your juvenile record, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the record sealed or expunged. Individuals with juvenile records and no other criminal records are typically very good candidates for expungement. Judges recognize most juvenile offenders as people who made mistakes while they were young and have now (hopefully) learned lessons from those mistakes.

As with other expungement cases, your claim will be less effective if your conviction was very recent or you are a repeat offender. If you have a juvenile record from when you were 17 and try to expunge it at 19 or 20, you will have more trouble than a 25-year-old expunging an offense from when they were 15. In most cases, you need to wait at least five years after conviction to be eligible for expungement. If you have multiple juvenile criminal records for similar charges—or if you were convicted of a similar offense after you turned 18—your road to expungement will be lengthier.

The severity of the offense also matters. Sex crimes are difficult to expunge even if they are juvenile records, as are violent offenses. Any charge upgraded to an adult conviction will also be viewed more critically by a judge.

At, we have a program called MyClearStart to help individuals explore the possibility of expunging or sealing their records. Click here to learn more about the program or take our eligibility test online.



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • October 15  What’s new with Uber and Lyft background checks? We look at the latest developments in ridesharing and driver screening.
  • October 10 Seasonal work plays a critical role in the economy every year as companies bulk up for the rush of holiday business. Does the pressure to quickly build staff stop businesses from using strong background screenings?
  • October 08 LifeWay is a Nashville-based organization that supplies bibles, hymnals, educational materials, and other resources to thousands of churches nationwide. LifeWay offers the OneSource program, which connects churches and organizations to discounted services for background checks.
  • October 03 A fingerprint background check is often considered the gold standard of background checks. How far back does a fingerprint background check go?
  • October 03 Businesses continue to take advantage of outside contractors to perform work, but is the approach too hands-off? Avoiding common pitfalls requires practical hiring policies.
  • October 01 For years, the idea of a temporary (or “temp”) worker remained relatively rare. Some businesses have always used temps and temp agencies to fill stopgap needs, but such practices have not been widespread—until now. The rise of the gig economy has pushed businesses in nearly every industry to reconsider their hiring strategies. 
  • September 26 White-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement can severely impact a business internally and externally. How can companies protect themselves from this threat? 
  • September 25 Do Nevada background check laws include a reporting limit on criminal convictions? We set the record straight on this confusing subject.
  • September 24 Employee background checks and volunteer background checks are among the most critical strategies that religious organizations can use to make sure those protections are in place. 
  • September 19 Some employers believe that looking at an applicant's life online can yield important insights for hiring. Is a social media screening useful—or even legal?